What Is the Meaning of “The Flower Carrier” by Diego Rivera?

“The Flower Carrier” by Diego Rivera represents the struggles of the working man living in a capitalist society. Rivera, a communist, was concerned about the plight of the peasants in Mexico. As was the case with his other works, Rivera intended this piece to move the audience to question the social effects that capitalism has on the working class.

“The Flower Carrier” portrays an exhausted peasant brought to the ground by the enormous weight of a basket of flowers. Diego depicts the farmer as physically small, perhaps even frail. A stout woman, just as tan as the peasant, helps the overburdened worker with his load.

The peasant and the woman represent Mexico’s working class, particularly the native and indigenous people. Their traditional garb and dark skin indicate they are hard-working mestizos, not aristocrats descended from a pure line of Spanish elite. By having the woman come to the aid of the fatigued worker, Rivera points to the good nature of the common people.

The flowers are key to understanding the picture. The peasant is not carrying corn, squash or any other vital crop. He is collecting flowers, an ornamental agricultural product only used to adorn the homes of the wealthy. Thus, Rivera implies that the excessive, luxurious lifestyle of the upper class is debilitating to the lower classes.