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Watercolors of Diego Rivera


Media Contact: Victor Payan, Latino Audience Engagement Specialist,, 714-567-3645

Bowers Museum presents Popol Vuh: Watercolors of Diego Rivera, Dec. 12 – May 19

Santa Ana Museum to Display Diego Rivera’s Watercolors Illustrating the Epic Mayan Narrative

Santa Ana, California (November 2015) – Bowers Museum in Santa Ana has announced the presentation of Popol Vuh: Watercolors of Diego Rivera, an exhibition that features 17 original watercolors inspired by the sacred text of the Quiché-Maya people.

The exhibition is on display at the Bowers Museum on December 12, 2015 through May 19, 2016 and is exclusive to the Bowers Museum. It will be the first United States presentation of these 17 compelling watercolors on loan from the Museo Casa Diego Rivera in Diego Rivera’s hometown of Guanajuato, Mexico and made possible with the support of the State Institute of Culture of Guanajuato.

The Popol Vuh is arguably the most important ancient text in existence from the Pre-Hispanic world and is considered a sacred text. Popol Vuh is an epic tale recording the origins, traditions, legends and history of the Quiché-Maya people from the dawn of creation until contact with the Spanish. The survival of the Popol Vuh is extraordinary, especially when considering that nearly every ancient Mesoamerican document was destroyed by Spanish conquerors or missionaries. For some unknown reason the Popol Vuh was spared.

The Popol Vuh: Watercolors of Diego Rivera at the Bowers Museum features 17 fascinating watercolors, inspired by Classic Maya imagery, which were created to illustrate pages from the first English translation of the Popol Vuh. Diego Rivera, one of the most recognized painters of the 20th century, became acquainted with writer John Weatherwax in 1931. Weatherwax, who is said to have read the Popol Vuh aloud to Rivera, asked Rivera to illustrate select passages of the manuscript as he read. Rivera completed 24 watercolors in all, selecting parts of the text most inclined to evoke imagery. The result was beautifully colored, highly stylized paintings with their root firmly in the classic Mayan tradition.

17 of Rivera’s 24 illustrations make up the Popol Vuh: Watercolors of Diego Rivera exhibit at the Bowers Museum, and will be accompanied by excerpts of the Popol Vuh text.


The Bowers Museum has earned an international reputation through its world-class exhibitions, including Warriors, Tombs and Temples: China’s Enduring Legacy, Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor, Secrets of the Silk Road, and Mummies – Death and the Afterlife: Treasures from the British Museum, as well as its own extensive art collections from throughout the Americas and the South Pacific. Additionally, the Bowers’ Kidseum, located one block south of the main museum, offers a high-tech and interactive focus on its new mission of “Igniting Imagination through Exploration” spotlighting the excitement of art and archaeology.

Enjoy a leisurely luncheon at our award-winning restaurant, Tangata. Outdoor seating is also available, overlooking the Bowers historic mission-style courtyard from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Browse the rare and exotic at the Bowers Museum Gallery Store. It’s more than just a shopping trip—it’s a cultural experience.

Bowers Museum and Kidseum are closed on Mondays, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Regular operating hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 AM to 4 PM.


Adults $13 $15
Seniors (62 & over) $10 $12
Students $10 $12
Children under 12 FREE* FREE*
*When accompanied by a paying adult, or adult who is a member


Bowers offers free admission to Santa Ana residents, with proof of residency, each Sunday, through a generous donation in memory of Dorothy Goerl and courtesy of the Lockhart Family.

BOWERS MUSEUM, in Santa Ana, is centrally located in the heart of Southern California. Address: 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706

Tickets and Information/ 714.567.3600

Group Tours: / 714.567.3680

Membership: / 714.567.3639


By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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