The term muralismo is a movement and art form that emerged in the 1920s after the Mexican Revolution. The Spanish term murales refers to wall painting in public spaces.
The works reflect national, socially critical and historical content. The main tool is the brush, but other techniques such as spray guns are also used. Most murals, however, are painted in fresco technique.
José Vasconcelos, in his function as Secretario de Educación Pública at the time, is named as the initiator of the art movement. The government commissioned a group of artists to paint large, often monumental murals on prestigious public buildings to teach the largely illiterate population about the country's history, especially the indigenous parts of Mexican culture and the country's progress. The first murales were created at the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria in Mexico City. The artists were almost free in the representation of their content. Many images heroised the working and peasant people and their popular leaders, depicted scenes of the revolution patriotically, condemned large-scale land ownership and idealised the pre-Hispanic life of the country's indigenous original population.
The most important representatives were the so-called Los Tres Grandes ('The Big Three'), José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Most of the Mexican mural painters were male. The first representative of this physically demanding art form was Aurora Reyes Flores, who painted her depiction of Atentado a los Maestros Rurales in 1936. Many of today's well-known artists from Mexico were active in left-wing politics, some of them also travelled through European countries, exchanged ideas with artists there and let themselves be influenced by European art in their further work.
The advertising graffiti Bardas de Baile, which is widespread in Mexico, can be understood as a popular commercial variation of Muralismo.