Proletarian Victim Blog #8

David Alfaro Siqueiros was a Mexican social realist painter. He was mostly known for his large murals in Fresco. Siqueiros was by far the most politically active of three established Mexican Muralism; Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and himself. David believes so strongly in politics that he got involved in an assassination plan against Leon Trotsky. He was forced into hiding after this failed attempt but later jailed and eventually expelled from Mexico. While in Jail, David’s art work seemed to flourish. He painted pieces of life suffering of the prison life. Later in life he moved to the United States to work on his art.

I am choosing to write about one of his famous pieces, “the Proletarian Victim”. Looking through different websites I cannot find a straight answer to what this painting is really about. One website says that is expresses the personal impact that social oppression has on the human. The rope binding the body symbolizes the oppressive government and the upper class over peasants. Another website says that this piece is of a bound Chinese woman who has been shot in the head. This refers to the abuse the Chinese suffered during the Japanese invasion in the early 30’s. This one piece of art is a mystery to many and to myself. I like this art work because it has so many meaning but no one will know the true meaning behind it.

“the Proletarian Victim” (1933) David Alfaro Siqueiros

“the Proletarian Victim” (1933) David Alfaro Siqueiros



7 thoughts on “Proletarian Victim Blog #8

  1. It’s true that this painting could be interpreted many ways. I think the title is what gives the biggest clue, so I’m inclined to believe the oppression theory. It is a great painting; the shading is great, and the placement of the subject helps to convey the message as well, with her head facing down and her arms back. It makes me curious to see what his other paintings were like. Though I suppose one gains an entirely new perspective after being in prison, especially in Mexico. I would have been curious to know what else you liked about the painting, besides being able to interpret it many ways? I’ve never been a fan of political work, but this is a pretty expressive painting, and I do like expression. I think it definitely sends a message.

  2. This painting shocked me. The subject matter, a woman tied up and possibly shot, is not usually the paintings student choose. But I admire your taste and I feel your background on the artist is great! I also feel the oppression theory is more relevant, especially since the artist himself flourished in the captivity of a jail. As you pointed out, though, no one will ever know the true meaning. Which is one part I love about the arts. Many are left to the interpretation of the viewer, allowing many to relate and pull some message from the piece. Excellent choice, I may have to look into political art more often.

  3. Wow excellent choice of work. I believe that this painting here symbolizing oppression and being bound up. I like the colors he used in this piece and the detail he put into it. I’m sure he came up with a lot of other ideas while he was imprisoned. Great history on the artist, I’m also not a fan of political work but this piece is extraordinary. Looks like he was sending a message to someone.

  4. Nice blog! You gave an excellent background on the artist. He had quite the history, I’m sure he saw a lot in jail that is somewhat resembled in this piece. It is pretty mysterious that no one knows the true meaning behind the painting, but maybe thats the beauty of it all 🙂 Good job!

  5. What a title for a blog, Proletarian victim #8! Immediately grabbed my attention.
    When I was in Mexico City, I visited many museums and just from the texture, the shading and the shape of the body, this painting feels Mexican. David Alfaro Siqueiros is not a name I am familiar with though. Do you know how long he was in jail for?

    • You did an amazing job with this blog let me just say that. To me this portrait screams life ! Why because it’s different and gloomy. I haven’t seen that much in this lesson awesome selection. You have met all of the requirements for this assignment. I love how the artist didn’t make a model type woman. He created a full figured woman who had a more realistic body figure. I love this portrait!

  6. This is an amazing piece, and I was actually a little shocked when I first saw it, because it isn’t what I was expecting. I really like the shading and highlighting in this work, I thing that’s part of what really brings it to life. I think, especially based on the title, that the work is probably representative of the impact of social oppression. The mystery behind the meaning of the work is interesting though. You did a good job on this post, and provided all of the necessary information. I am curious though, what else about this work appealed to you, besides the uncertainty behind its intended meaning?

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