Diego Rivera- The Hands of Dr. Moore
Diego Rivera, 1886--1957
The Hands of Dr. Moore
Size: 18 in. x 22 in. (45.7 cm x 55.9 cm)
Bequest of Mrs. E. Clarence Moore, 1970:20
In this non-traditional portrait, Diego Rivera chose to focus on the doctor's hands instead of creating a more typical image that featured the sitter's face. The inscription reads, "These are the hands of Dr. Clarence Moore of Los Angeles, California. They trim the tree of life so that it is renewed and does not die. Diego Rivera painted them in 1940."
With its reference to roots, female anatomy, and blood, and through the use of a ribbon-like banner that includes an inscription, the painting recalls the work of Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist whom Rivera twice married.
The anthropomorphic tree that is transformed from a symbol of the natural world to the female figure reflects the status of the tree as an iconic symbol in Mexican art history from pre-Columbian to contemporary times. Moreover the tree motif appears in the Museum's other painting by Rivera, the Mandrágora of 1939, and in such works as Pan American Unity, also created in 1940, and permanently on view at San Francisco City College.