Dr. Atl

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Plan of  by Dr. Atl
Plan of Tenochtitlán by Dr. Atl

Gerald Murillo (a Mexican painter who signed his work "Dr. Atl") was born on October 3, 1875, in Guadalajara, Jalisco. He began to study painting at an early age in Jalisco, under Felipe Castro. At the age of 21, Murillo entered the National School of Fine Arts in Mexico City to further in his studies.

After showing his abilities, Murillo was granted a pension by President Porfirio Díaz to further his studies of painting in Europe. There he broadened his scope of learning. He studied philosophy and law at the University of Rome. Murillo also traveled many times to Paris to listen to lectures about art given by Henri Bergson. His strong interest in politics led him to collaborate with the Socialist Party in Italy and work in the Avanti newspaper. It was at this time when he was baptized "Dr. Atl" (the Nahuatl word for "water") by Leopold Lugones.

Dr. Atl became very active in Mexico when he returned. He led art exhibits sponsoring the brilliant painters of his time, Francisco de la Torre, Diego Rivera, and Ponce de Leon.

Dr. Atl then left the country, returning to Paris, where he analyzed the political aspects of Mexico. He founded a journal and wrote about the social and political standings of Mexico, writing against Victoriano Huerta. Dr. Atl supported constitutionalists, leaning towards biblical socialism and promoting the growth of art, literature, and science.

One of his biggest interests was to study volcanoes. He spent a lot of time climbing both Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl. Dr. Atl wrote the book Cómo nace y crece un volcán, el Paricutín ("How a Volcano is Born and Grows – Paricutín") in 1950. The book told of his experience of witnessing the eruption of Paricutín in 1943. His time spent with volcanoes was the culprit of a disease which led to the amputation of one of his legs.

Dr. Atl's love of the outdoors and his active nature is easily seen in his many paintings which portray the landscapes of his era.

His literary writings including Cuentos de todos los colores ("Stories of All Colors"), which focuses on the themes of the Mexican Revolution and has been hailed as one of the best narrations of that historical period. His book La Perla ("The Pearl") inspired the writing, much the same, by John Steinbeck.

Dr. Atl received numerous awards for his literature and art, including the National Arts Award in 1958. He died in Mexico City in 1964.nl:Dr. Atl


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