Detroit Industry , South Wall (detail, center panel)

Painted as part of a large commission for the city of Detroit, the Detroit Industry series is a prime example of Diego Rivera’s mastery of large-scale murals. Located in the eponymous city’s Institute of Art, the mural depicts both the specific industrial advances of the Ford Motor Company and the more general development of industry over time and space. The North Wall depicts the production of the 1932 Ford V-8 at the company’s River Rouge plant, the site of workers’ protests during the Great Depression. Here we see the conclusion of the production line in the finished automobile set against a backdrop of a towering machine. Rivera altered its form to reference the Aztec goddess Coatlicue, underscoring his belief that individual workers were “sacrificed” to the collective process.

Creator: Diego Rivera

Date: 1932-1933

Original Medium: Fresco

Original Size: 212 1/2 x 540 in.

Location: Detroit Institute of Arts