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The figure of "el Prometeo," or Prometheus, is a motif in the murals of Jose Clemente Orozco, one of the "big three" of Mexican muralism. But few have seen Orozco's relatively small canvas work Prometeo, a tumultuous, apocalyptic painting depicting a stooped man with his head in flames. The piece is in the collection of Dr. Alvaro Carrillo Gil, a close friend who supported Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros early in their artistic careers. Prometeo, along with La Victoria, another fiery and bloody Orozco interpretation of a classical myth, is currently on display as part of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum's "Public Lives, Private Works," an exhibit culled from Mexico City's Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil by Carrillo Gil's grandson Armando Saenz Carrillo. Orozco was more focused on the classics than the highly political Rivera, a Marxist, and the Stalinist Siqueiros. Still, Prometeo can be interpreted as a metaphor for the painful cultural rebirth Mexico was undergoing after the revolution, a renaissance in which the three muralists played an active role. "The work is just intense, coming out of a period when Mexico was basically tearing itself apart," said MFAC visual arts director Cesareo Moreno, "so the work is very brutal in its depictions." The show opens Friday, June 28, and runs through September 1 at the museum, 1852 W. 19th. Admission is free, and the museum is open from 10 to 5 Tuesday through Sunday. Call 312-738-1503 for more information.

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