Flower Seller by Diego Rivera


The Flower Seller paintings was painted in 1941 and depicts a young woman kneeling with a very large bundle of calalilies. Her clothes are simple yet she is colorfully and neatly like a typical young woman of Mexico in the early 20th century. The double braids in her hair indicate that she is a young girl not yet married. We cannot see her face because she has her back to us, facing the lilies, with her arms around the bundle. The rest of the image is dark so there is not definition of the ground that she sits on or a background behind the lilies. Can this young girl carry the lilies? They seem too big, yet the title indicates that she is supposed to sell them. Did Diego choose to hide her face because she is quietly struggling with her burden? Or is she simply preparing for a day at the market by carefully lifting her flowers?

The calla lily, a sensual, sculptural flower - and quintessential example of Mexico's exuberant flora - was celebrated by Rivera many times, particularly in frescoes depicted peasants with indigenous features carrying bundles or offerings of them.