Orozco first began working in lithography after his arrival in 1927 to New York, where he had been commissioned to create a series of frescoes for the interior walls of the New School. Orozco quickly secured a name for himself as a graphic artist, and his return to Mexico City in 1934 inaugurated a new period in his lithographic practice characterized by more complex compositions and a scathing critique of post-Revolutionary Mexico. In contrast to the celebratory character of his earlier prints, this grim image projects a skepticism toward the supposed accomplishments of the decade-long war. Here, the caricatural style of stereotypical and simplistic cartoon-like figures recalls that seen in the engravings of José Guadalupe Posada, an influential Mexican engraver known for his use of political satire and humor. Much like "Las Masas", a lithograph from the previous year, Orozco’s mordant depiction of the revolutionaries characterizes them as a mass of hopeless and wretched peasants. The Zapatistas were the group of peasants and farmers who joined the forces of Emiliano Zapata, a charismatic leader of the Mexican Revolution and a recurrent figure in Mexican muralism, seen in contemporary prints by Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros (see 1995.3 and 1995.4).

Text credit: Produced in collaboration with the University of Maryland Department of Art History & Archaeology and Patricia Ortega-Miranda


  • Title: Zapatistas
  • Creator: José Clemente Orozco
  • Date Created: 1935
  • Location: Mexico
  • Physical Dimensions: w16 x h13 in.
  • Type: print
  • Rights: All rights reserved
  • Medium: lithograph

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