Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to be reunited on Mexican bill


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The Bank of Mexico said Monday it would place in circulation a new 500-peso bill featuring the well-known faces of two of the country’s best-known artists, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. In the bank’s official video to promote the bill’s anti-counterfeiting features (embedded above in Spanish), two figures resembling the celebrity couple stroll in costume around traditional and modern sites in Mexico.

The previous face on the 500-peso bill was Ignacio Zaragoza, hero of the Battle of Puebla. Milenio reports that in 2006, efforts to replace his face on the note were resisted in Congress. This time, the Bank of Mexico said it had the autonomy to change the look of Mexico’s currency as it bolsters efforts to combat money laundering and counterfeiting.


Critics interviewed by Milenio disagreed with the use of the artists’ images for differing reasons. Historian Alejandro Rosas Robles said the Nobel Prize-winning writer Octavio Paz is more worthy of appearing on the note because his work speaks more generally to Mexico, while the noted art critic Raquel Tibol argued that the use of the couple’s image was an ‘error’ because the artists were not directly involved in Mexico’s revolution of 1910.

The faces of Rivera and Kahlo appear on opposite sides of the new bill, along with reproductions of works by them. The note has six anti-fraud features, including a watermark and relief text. In September, Mexico begins celebrating 100 years since the start of the revolution and 200 years since declaring independence from Spain.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Video: Banco de Mexico