Published Date

May 1, 2004

Resource Type

Primary Source

This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “The Conquest of Mexico” by Nancy Fitch.


Diego Rivera’s “Malinche and Son”

This is a section of a mural painted by Diego Rivera on the walls of the Palacio Nacional as part of an effort to produce public art to teach illiterate Mexicans about their history. Malinche is grasping her son in the midst of chaos all around her. She is surrounded by priests and Spanish conquerors, her son’s face buried in her huipil, so commonly worn by women at the time of the conquest. She seems to be alone with her faceless child. This is only a portion of the mural. She is not in the center of the whole mural, more to the side, but she, Cortés, and Martin are the most identifiable people in it.

Step One

Make some observations about what is included in the image.

  • Who can you identify?
  • Where are they located in the image?
  • How are they dressed?
  • What kind of military action do you see?
  • What is the center of this image?

Step Two

Ask yourself some questions about what you see in the image.

  • What is the story being told in this image?
  • What are the similarities between this story and what you just read on the previous page?
  • What are the differences between this story and what you just read?
  • How do you account for the differences in the various stories?

Step Three

Write your own interpretation of what Rivera thought of Malinche based on the evidence.