How to not starve as an artist, brought to you by Diego Rivera

Aspiring artists certainly should be aware of the fact that, at some point in their life, they will possibly be broke and on the edge of starvation. It appears to just be standard activity for all the great artists: Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, El Greco, just to name a few!

Of course, telling students in your lessons about that aspect of an artist’s life may dissuade them from continuing their art education! We hope to avoid this; thus, it’s fortunate that not all artists lived so meagerly. Take, for instance, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The couple became well known for their art and their troubled relationship, but in their circle of friends, they clearly became just as famous for their cooking. In an article published in the Washington Post, Rivera’s daughter. Guadalupe Rivera Marin talks about mealtime with her father:

“My dad loved all the strange foods. There was always a sense of discovery of the real way of cooking from the Mexican pueblo. He liked trying everything that was local and characteristic of the different regions. We traveled with him all over, to small towns, local markets, and learned the variety of foods.”

While Diego cooked and ate, Kahlo took the role of hosting, often setting the lavish banquet tables and filling the room with flowers.

Marin collected her father’s favorite recipes into a book, “Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life With Frida Kahlo.” If you’re interested in trying one of the featured recipes, check out this one for Cold Chilies with Vegetable Stuffing, also from the Post article.

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are featured in five of our Art Docent Program lessons, ranging from “Children” (third grade) to “Self Portrait” (first grade).

Diego Rivera's recipe for Cold Chilies with Vegetable Stuffing.
Diego Rivera’s recipe for Cold Chilies with Vegetable Stuffing.


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