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

Jose Clemente Orozco’s Cortes and Malinche

Malinche has been a major icon of the conquest of Mexico for both the Spaniards and Mexicans. In Spanish literature she is either entirely ignored or praised as the woman who brought Catholicism to Mexico. In Mexican literature published before the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1917, she was usually portrayed as a traitor to her people. In the 1930s, Mexican artists, in particular, began to portray the nation’s Indian past in a much more positive way, celebrating the Indian rather than trying to cover up the fact that most of the nation was mestizo or of mixed Spanish/Mexica heritage. Celebrating the meztiso, two of Mexico’s most famous artists, Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orosco, painted murals featuring Malinche as the mother of the first mestizo, Don Martin. Although Malinche remains a controversial figure and many Mexicans continue to believe that she was a traitor to her people, Malinche has been resurrected positively by feminist chicanas in the late twentieth century.

Click on the images to examine them in more detail.