Atl, Dr. (1875–1964)

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Atl, Dr. (1875–1964)

Dr. Atl (Gerardo Murillo; b. 1875; d. 1964), Mexican artist and participant in the Mexican Revolution. A native of Guadalajara, he became a noted landscape artist and volcanologist. After studying painting at Bellas Artes in Mexico City, he departed in 1896 for Rome, where he later received degrees in philosophy and law. His pseudonym, Dr. Atl (atl being the Nahuatl word for "water"), was suggested to him by the writer Leopoldo Lugones in Paris in 1902, and he used this name on his works of art. Returning to Mexico, he hiked up Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, an experience that led to a lifelong interest, both scientific and artistic, in volcanoes.

After a second stay in Europe, Atl returned to Mexico in 1914 and joined the Constitutionalist movement under Venustiano Carranza. He became a member of the Revolutionary Confederation, a group of military and other Constitutionalist officials formed in 1914 that pressured Carranza to carry out social reforms. He was a close collaborator of General Álvaro Obregón, and helped him attract the support of the Casa de Obrero Mundial and other workers' groups in Mexico City during the Constitutionalist occupation in early 1915. After the Revolution, he returned to painting and authored several books, including works on art and volcanology.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century .


A good biography is Arturo Casado Navarro, El Dr. Atl (1984). A beautiful edition of his work is Gerardo Murillo, Dr. Atl: Pinturas y dibujos (1974), with a prologue by Carlos Pellicer. Works in English include Mackinley Helm, Modern Mexican Painters (1941), pp. 1-20.

Agustín Velásquez Chávez, Contemporary Mexican Artists (1937), pp. 45-55.

Additional Bibliography

Saénz, Olga. El símbolo y la acción: Vida y obra de Gerardo Murillo, Dr. Atl. Mexico City, El Colegio Nacional, 2005.

                                        Linda B. Hall

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Atl, Dr. (1875–1964)

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Atl, Dr. (1875–1964)