When Diego Rivera arrived to Europe in 1907, he entered the atelier of Eduardo Chicharro y Agüera, who was only thirteen years older than him.. Through Chicharro’s teachings Rivera became acquainted with Spanish modernismo. He spent long hours painting, a habit he would never abandon and one that earned him the praise of his mentor.
Self-Portrait with Broad-Brimmed Hat depicts a young man who was trying to reflect the ambience in which he was immersed. His face shows certain nostalgia, characteristic of Spanish romanticism and fin-de-siècle bohemianism. The atmosphere is further accented by the bottle and glass of beer on the table. The painter is wearing a soft, broad-brimmed hat that gives its Spanish name (chambergo) to the painting. Leaning slightly to the right, the figure gives occasion for the brushwork and the rendering of light and shadow that Rivera studied at Chicharro’s atelier.