The subject of this rare lithograph by Diego Rivera is Emiliano Zapata (1879–1919), a Mexican revolutionary leader and champion of agrarian reform. Assassinated in 1919, he quickly became a political martyr. Here he stands before a group of rebels armed with farming tools, the dead body of a hacienda owner at his feet. The lithograph is based on the portrait of Zapata in the last panel of Rivera’s fresco cycle at the Cortez Palace in Cuernavaca, Mexico (1929–30), which presents a symbolic interpretation of 400 years of Mexican history relayed through the experiences of natives of Cuernavaca and the state of Morelos. Rivera also reinterpreted the scene of Zapata as a portable fresco for a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1931. He translated the image into a lithograph in order to make his murals more widely available to collectors.

From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist Diego M. Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957
  • Zapata
Date 1932
Medium lithograph printed in black ink on cream wove paper
Dimensions Image: 16 5/8 × 13 1/4 inches (42.2 × 33.7 cm)
Sheet: 22 7/8 × 16 inches (58.1 × 40.6 cm)
Credit Line Museum Purchase, The Leah Brenner Mexican Art Endowment Fund in memory of Paula Brenner
Accession Number 2010.8
Department Prints, Drawings & Photographs
Not On View
Weyhe Gallery;
2010-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)