The Detroit Industry murals: Diego Rivera’s masterpiece

Four walls. Twenty-seven paintings. Nine months of labor-intensive work.

In 1932, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) began illustrating the walls of what was then the DIA’s Garden Court. Using the fresco technique common in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Americas, Rivera created a grand and complex cycle of murals that portray the geological, technological, and human history of Detroit. He also developed an ancient context for modern industry rooted in the belief system of the Aztec people of central Mexico.  

Diego Rivera came to consider his Detroit Industry murals his finest work. Want to learn more about the murals and see the artist at work?

The DIA offers a multimedia tour of Detroit Industry, available on handheld devices at the museum's Rivera Court Information desk.