Graduation Year

Fall 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lee Skinner

Rights Information

© 2013 Carly Goodkin


This paper explores the art of Olga Costa and María Izquierdo. The history of the Mexican revolution is outlined and then presented again with a focus on women’s issues and involvement. Next is a discussion of national identity construction after the revolution, with attention paid to the role of the “Big Three,” muralists Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Siqueiros. While scholars often credit male artists for their involvement in this process, the contributions of female artists tend to be overlooked. Although the work of female artists is often portrayed as limited to their personal experiences, this thesis argues that women’s work subverted hegemonic narratives and images that homogenized Mexican national identity building, and thus reveal valuable perspectives on post-revolutionary Mexican society. Specific topics explored include subversions of representations of female beauty, challenging of the role of women in Mexican society and patriarchies in general, and the creative use of symbols in order to avoid objectifying women while representing themes pertaining to Mexico. This thesis engages with scholarly works that perpetuate traditional readings of Costa and Izquierdo’s work as primarily autobiographical and limited in scope as well as more progressive critiques that recognize the social significance of these artists. A variety of paintings are analyzed in detail, including Costa and Izquierdo’s portraits of nude and clothed women, Izquierdo’s series of allegorical pieces and still lifes, and Costa’s masterpiece “La Vendedora.” This thesis is written in Spanish.


  • Best Senior Thesis in Modern Languages and Literatures