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Rivera and Kahlo on the 500-peso banknote. Rivera and Kahlo on the 500-peso banknote.

Goodbye Frida and Diego? New 500-peso bill coming Monday

Bank of México has revealed nothing regarding the design of the new banknote

A new 500-peso bill will enter circulation Monday but whether images of renowned Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera will remain features of the note is a mystery.

The Bank of México announced that it will officially launch the new banknote at an event in Mexico City but it didn’t provide any information about its design.

The 500-peso note is the most widely circulated denomination and first appeared in 1994 featuring an image of army general Ignacio Zaragoza, who led the Mexican forces to victory over invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

The version featuring images of Kahlo and Rivera — who married in 1929, divorced 10 years later then remarried in 1940 — has six anti-fraud features and has circulated since 2010.

A self-portrait of Rivera, considered one of Mexico’s “big three” muralists along with José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, appears on one side of the note alongside an image of his painting Desnudo con Alcatraces (Nude with Calla Lilies) adorned with three paint brushes and a palette.

The first 500-peso note, issued in 1994.
The first 500-peso note, issued in 1994.

A self-portrait of Kahlo, considered one of the great painters of the 20th century and almost certainly the most famous Mexican artist internationally, features on the opposite side.

An image of her 1949 painting El Abrazo del Amor del Universo, la Tierra (México), Yo, Diego y el Señor Xólotl (The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Myself, Diego and Señor Xólotl) also appears.

Frida Kahlo’s image has been widely used on a range of consumer products and was also the inspiration for a Barbie doll.

However, a judge barred the sale of the doll in Mexico earlier this year after the artist’s family, who have sole rights to her image, launched legal action against toy multinational Mattel.

The banknote bearing her and Diego’s likeness will retain its value but will be gradually withdrawn from circulation, the central bank said.

There are banknotes of six denominations in Mexico, ranging from 20 pesos to 1,000.

Among the other prominent Mexicans who feature on the nation’s currency are former president Benito Juárez (20 pesos), pre-Hispanic ruler of Texcoco Nezahualcóyotl (100 pesos), nun, scholar and acclaimed writer Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (200 pesos) and priest and independence hero Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (1,000 pesos).

Source: El Financiero (sp), El Universal (sp) 

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