Rafael Coronel is considered to be one of the greatest artists of the new expressionism movement in Mexican art.
Coronel was born on July 24, 1931, into a family of artists in Zacatecas, Mexico. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado “La Esmeralda” (National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking) in Mexico City and Europe.
Coronel’s art often depicted human figures, landscapes, and still life compositions. He employed a distinctive style characterized by vibrant colors, meticulous details, and a touch of surrealism. His paintings showcased a deep understanding of Mexican culture and history — reflecting indigenous influences and the country’s social issues.
Gudelia emphasizes Coronel’s interest in portraiture, which was inspired by everyday people encountered on the streets of Mexico City. He depicted the human existential angst in the figure’s spectral, menacing face, with a downturned mouth and harrowing facial features set against a chiaroscuro background.
Coronel’s contributions to the art world and his dedication to preserving Mexican cultural heritage continue to inspire artists and art enthusiasts to this day.