Diego Rivera’s murals glorify Mexico’s peoples and history. The large building of the Secretaría de Educación Pública (education ministry) holds the most extensive collection of his murals in Mexico City. (Other famous murals can be found in the Palacio Nacional, the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Museo Mural Diego Rivera.) The education ministry is often not on lists of major sights in Mexico City, but is definitely not to be missed.
On the first floor, Rivera glorifies the laboring class, including potters, weavers, and sugar cane workers and portrays traditional markets and festivities. Political themes, such as the excesses of capitalism and the agrarian revolution, dominate the third floor’s striking murals. The second floor is somewhat of a letdown. In grey tones (grisallo) the murals by Rivera and students show representations of the sciences, engineering, medicine, and the arts, and depict the coats of arms of the Mexican states. The murals cover the long walls and staircases around two courtyards. Notably, Rivera weaves “dichos” or sayings (“those who want to eat should work”) above many of his murals. The building is open weekdays and is free to the public.