Lo que puede venir

Accession Number

Lo que puede venir

Leopoldo Méndez

Artist Nationality

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
woodcut on paper

12 in x 6 15/16 in (30.48 cm x 17.62 cm);14 ¼ in x 10 ⅜ in (36.2 cm x 26.35 cm);22 ⅛ in x 18 ⅛ in (56.2 cm x 46.04 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Subject matter
This print is one of a series of three self-portraits Méndez created around this time. The artist depicts himself here signing and dating the large book, a sketchbook, on which he lays. While he sketches, he contemplates the nightmarish vision that unfolds behind him. There is a mixture of Mexican and European symbolism—the eagle, snake and nopal cactus are refences to the Aztec pictograph for their capital city of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) and its founding legend. However, the eagle no longer is perched on the cactus but is crucified on a cross that takes the shape of a Nazi swastika. Made at the end of the Second World War, this vision of Mexico's capital being invaded by fascist troops supported by Catholic clerics critiques recent history of the Mexican state involvement in the conflict. This work combines a social realist aesthetic with the politically-charged uses of native Mexican imagery typical of the work of the Taller de Grafica Popular founded by Méndez in 1937.

Physical Description
In the foreground, there is a man laying on a large human-sized book, one hand on his chin and the other holding a pencil to the page. In front of his pencil, the text "Mendez" and "1945" is printed. On the pages of the book are a skeleten-creature and on the opposite page an angel. Behind the man and the book is a large cactus, and then a large cross rises from its base. The cross is encircled by a large snake-like creature whose head is open, facing away, and an eagle is crucified with knives. Coming from the ends of the cross are what seems to be spears, pointing clockwise. Behind this foreground scene, there is an army marching under a flag with the skull and crossbones. A priest follows behind the army, seemingly coming from the open mouth of the large serpent whose tail holds the feet of the crucified eagle. To the left there are two more crucified figures, whose crosses are on fire. In the far background, there is a vista of a large city. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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Caryophyllales (order)
Christian clergy
angels (spirits)
cobras (serpents)
eagles (birds)
modern and contemporary art
skeletons (animal components)

52 Related Resources

(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Arts of Mexico
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Borders of Identity in North America
(Part of 14 Learning Collections)
Human Sacrifice
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Postcolonial Art
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Social Justice
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Social Justice and Art 1929-1945
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
(Part of: Caricature and Visual Satire)
Critical Realism
(Part of: Caricature and Visual Satire)
F17 Aguilera-Mellado - SPANISH 488 - Fascism in Spain
(Part of: Spanish 296: Fascism and the dictatorial past in Spain and Argentina: Graphic novel, visual culture, and literature.)
PAST - Academic Outreach Hits
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )
W18 Aguilera-Mellado - SPANISH 372 - Modern and Contemporary Spanish Literature
(Part of: Spanish 296: Fascism and the dictatorial past in Spain and Argentina: Graphic novel, visual culture, and literature.)
Human Rights
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Celebration of Mexican Heritage and Culture
(Part of: Resources Made by Isabel Engel)
Global Fascism: Representation and Ramifications
(Part of: F20 Ricco - Global Fascism)
Jewish American refractions of the 'Jewish question'
(Part of: F20 Spector - GERMAN 731 / HISTORY 698 / JUDAIC 617 - The 'Jewish Question' in German History and Culture)
W21 Tanielian - INTLSTD 401 - Afterlives
(Part of: Resources Made by Isabel Engel)
Work by Indigenous Artists in UMMA's Collection
(Part of: Representation and Misrepresentation of Indigeneity in UMMA's Collection)

& Author Notes

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