At the beginning of the 1920s, Diego Rivera had just arrived in Mexico from Europe where he had lived with the great painters of the time: Picasso, Modigliani, Renoir, and Matisse among others. He brought sensational projects, despite having been one of the protagonists of the Cubist movement, he planned to dedicate himself to mural painting where the history of the country could be represented in a realistic way.
Alberto J. Pani and José Vasconcelos, intellectuals and government officials in power, with their influences managed to get Diego Rivera to be commissioned to paint some murals in some government offices. It is convenient to know that José Vasconcelos was a very distinguished man in Mexico, he is remembered in the educational media as rector of the UNAM in the government of Álvaro Obregón. It was he who chose for the university’s shield the motto: “Through my race, the spirit will speak.” He also gave great impetus to culture and the arts, the university was transformed and thanks to him it became more cultured. In the government of President Adolfo de la Huerta, Vasconcelos was appointed “head of the university and fine arts department” dedicating himself to promoting exchange with intellectuals from other countries such as the Spanish Ramón del Valle Inclán and the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. Vasconcelos, who aspired to be President of Mexico, also distinguished himself as a promoter of nationalism.
In the positions he held, he promoted all artistic manifestations and activities to preserve the cultural heritage of Mexico. With this background, it is to be understood that he paid a lot of interest to Diego Rivera’s projects because his ideas coincided with the nationalism and patriotism that were in fashion.
But let’s see what happened with Diego Rivera when he started with the coat of arms of the State of Sinaloa, which has a curious history.
It all started in 1923 when a farce of considerable proportions was put together.
At that time the secretary of public education José Vasconcelos hired the famous painter Diego Rivera to paint a mural on the walls of the first floor of the secretary of public education building the different shields of the states of the republic, they were the main theme, It was all good intention but Diego Rivera chose a false shield because there was no other at hand and painted the label of the old Cervecería del Pacifico in which an anchor and a siren that surrounds it appeared.
The Sinaloan intellectuals raised a cry, considering Rivera’s work an attack on the honor of the state.
Don Genaro Estrada, Foreign Minister of Mexico, was disgusted in a way, cataloging it as a mockery arbitrarily imposed on Sinaloa. Don Manuel Estrada Rousseau almost died of a tantrum, this Mazatlan writer indignantly attacked the Minister of Education and through newspaper articles, like other intellectuals, firmly attacked Rivera, whom they pointed out as a piece-rate painter and who had committed an unforgivable heresy. legal, heroic and artistic against national heraldry.
It was degrading that the Sinaloa arms were a brand of beer, no matter it was the Pacific, Estrada Rousseau did not underestimate, but in historical matters, the rules of the blazon had to be respected.
Genaro Estrada talks about this incident: “urged a certain famous architect to paint on one of the walls of the SEP the shields of all the states of the republic in many cases he had to resort to his prodigious imagination because he lacked authentic originals. Sinaloa and finding himself perplexed by the tricky problem, he miraculously found the label of a Mazatlan brewery. I don’t need more to get out of the quagmire ”.
The poet Alejandro Hernández Tyler presented a presentation to the Mexican Congress of History to provide the State of Sinaloa with a heraldic shield. Many projects were presented and in the end, it was agreed to adopt the current coat of arms, the work of the Yucatecan artist Rolando Arjona Amabilis and which undoubtedly fulfills all the requirements imposed by heraldry.
So it remains for the history of our shield of Sinaloa this anecdote where the Cervecería del Pacifico without having to do with the matter surely benefited from free advertising sponsored by the Master Diego Rivera.