This print draws from one of Gonzalez’ larger than life paintings, Conjunto del Bravo. When Gonzalez met these street musicians in Mexico, he was struck by their hands. Usually musicians have very delicate hands and not much character. He could tell from the hands of these street musicians that they had other jobs doing heavy, manual labor.
“To see those hands, playing music that was so delicate, you would not have thought they could do that by seeing those hands. I found that to be a really interesting contrast” – Gonzalez
The ribbon behind the musician is influenced by a portrait of a nun by Diego Velazquez, where she is holding a crucifix and there is a ribbon behind her with the prayer the nun is reciting. The writing on the ribbon has the lyrics, “Voy a relatar esta historia verdadera (I’m going to tell you a true story), vuela, vuela, palomita! (fly, fly, little white dove!)”.
Born in 1973 in Tamaulipas, Rigoberto A. Gonzalez has lived his life on both sides of the Rio Grande. After earning a BFA from UT-Pan American in 1999 and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2004, he returned to his hometown. Gonzalez remembered Tamaulipas as being peaceful, calm, even boring.
There he saw stories in the newspapers about beheadings and executions. The photos reminded him of those in Baroque paintings from the 17th century, such as the Beheading of St. John the Baptist and David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio, as well as similar works of art by Jusepe de Ribera. In his paintings, Gonzalez appropriates and connects the depiction of violence by Caravaggist, Neapolitan painters with the portrayal of violence in corridos.
Check out our Artist in Residence blog series featuring Rigoberto A. Gonzalez to learn more about the artist.
Read a recent article about Rigoberto A. Gonzalez in Latino Magazine.
Watch the video interview with Rigoberto A. Gonzalez on YouTube: