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The Miner

Carlos Orozco Romero

The Miner

Carlos Orozco Romero
  • Original Title: El minero
  • Date: 1929
  • Style: Expressionism, Social Realism
  • Genre: genre painting
  • Media: oil
  • Dimensions: 80 x 80 cm

”In The Miner, Carlos Orozco Romero sought an opportunity for formal experimentation. The earthy palette evokes a subterranean landscape. The figure of the miner pushing his wheelbarrow dominates the composition, balancing the angular geometric forms: a brick wall, smoke stack, a rectangular building with an arched doorway, and a conical mountain that looms in the distance. Manmade forms create a pattern of alternating diagonals in the background. Orozco Romero’s treatment of the subject defies the political rhetoric of the 1920s and later, in which the suffering of the worker was often emphasized. Executed shortly after he moved permanently to Mexico City, the subject of this oil was surely inspired by the monumental works he encountered there. But whereas Rivera, in his murals in the Patio of Labor at the Secretaría de Educación Pública, showcased the martyrdom of the miner, Orozco Romero created a dynamic composition whose main purpose was to juxtapose the softened human form with the angularity of the emerging industrial landscape. However, one element—the “halo” around the worker’s head—suggests that Orozco Romero was not unsympathetic to his subject.”

(Vide Adriana Zavala, Arte moderno de México. Colección Andrés Blaisten, Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autonóma de México, 2005)

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