Mexican artist Frida Kahlo has marked history because of her magnificent self-portraits with a strong dimension that have influenced views on feminism, homosexuality and Mexican culture around the world. With vibrant colors involved in the Latin cultural traits, the painter portrayed the events of her life, her relationships, sufferings, intimate feminine issues such as abortion, in addition to her political and cultural convictions. This article explores the intense life of one of the most important Mexican painters of the 20th century, based on ten paintings.
1. My Grandparents, My Parents, and I (Family Tree ) by Frida Kahlo, 1936
We started this journey through the world of Frida Kahlo , through the painting My Grandparents, My Parents, and I (Family Tree) . Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón was born on July 6, 1907 in Mexico City, in the house currently known as La Casa Azul . In a characteristic way, the artist represented her origins, by portraying herself at the bottom, as a naked child with her feet inside the house where she lived most of her life. This figure holds a bow that tells the genealogical story of Frida Kahlo , with representations of parents and grandparents, at the top of the painting.
2. The bus by Frida Kahlo, 1929
In The Bus, the painter represented one of the pivotal moments of her life, the accident on the bus, on September 17, 1925. This completely transformed her way of life, as she was left with spinal injuries, among other problems such as very limited mobility. In the painting, the moment before the accident is represented, with the passengers calmly seated. Frida Kahlo never portrayed the event directly, but represented the consequences it had on her body and on her way of life.
3. The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo, 1944
The Broken Column is one of the paintings that tells the pain and suffering felt by the artist, due to the injuries that the bus accident caused to her body. This work was painted when Frida Kahlo was bedridden and tied to a metallic corset, after one of the surgeries on her spine. The Mexican painter depicted herself standing in the middle of a fragmented landscape, with her torso wrapped in metal strips covered with cloth, which provide pressure and support for her back, thus preventing her body from breaking. Its vertebral column is replaced by an Ionic column, with its head supported by a capital. Although her body is surrounded by signs of pain, such as nails and tears, the painter's face remains serious and without signs of suffering, thus demonstrating her strong and defiant attitude towards life itself.
4. Frieda and Diego Rivera by Frida Kahlo, 1931
“There were two big accidents in my life, Frida Kahlo once wrote in her diary: the terrible accident that left her "broken" and the time when she met Diego Rivera, who literally became the love of her life. »
The painting “ Frieda and Diego Rivera ” represents the marriage between the two, which took place in 1929. At the time of this work's creation, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived in the United States of America, as the Mexican artist was painting the murals at the San Francisco Stock Exchange and at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts. In the painting, Diego Rivera holds a palette and four brushes in his right hand, while Frida Kahlo holds her red shawl in her left hand, tilting her head toward her husband. The two are standing holding hands, facing the spectator. At the top, there is a pigeon holding a banner that reads: “ Here you see us, me Frieda Kahlo, with my dearest husband Diego Rivera. I painted these pictures in the delightful city of San Francisco California for our companion Mr. Albert Bender, and it was in the month of April of the year 1931 .”
5. Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo, 1940
Frida Kahlo produced several portraits accompanied by her favorite animals, parrots, dogs, among others, which replaced the presence of the children that the artist cannot have. In this painting Frida Kahlo presents herself with a serious and steady gaze, while she is surrounded by vegetation and various animals: a cat, a monkey and several butterflies in her hair.
6. Henry Ford Hospital of Frida Kahlo, 1932
At age six, Frida Kahlo developed polio, a disease that damaged her uterus and made her unable to bear children. On July 4, 1932, the Mexican artist suffered a miscarriage in Detroit at her home. As her body did not resist, she was eventually taken to Henry Ford Hospital. In this painting, Frida Kahlo portrayed the intimate moment of suffering, demonstrating the feeling of helplessness, from her naked body, twisted and full of blood. The bed tilted upwards, in a desert landscape, increases and conveys the feeling of discomfort and loneliness. The stomach holds several red threads, similar to umbilical cords, which demonstrate its reproductive problems - uterus, flower and baby - and how long this operation took, through the snail. Henry Ford Hospital was the first painting in which Frida used a metal plate as support, as in the Mexican altarpieces.
7. Self-portrait dedicated to Leon Trotsky, 1937
The Mexican painter is known for her self-portraits that told the story of her life, as well as her reflections on politics and cultural identity. In this portrait Frida Kahlo portrayed herself elegantly in a long embroidered skirt, with a fringed shawl and flowers in her hair. In her hands she holds a bunch of flowers and a letter written to Trotsky that says: “ To Leon Trotsky, with all my affection, I dedicate this painting, on November 7, 1937. Frida Kahlo. In San Ángel, Mexico .” This self-portrait dedicated to Leon Trotsky celebrates the brief romance between the two. Russian revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky went to Mexico in 1937, where he remained in exile until assassinated in 1940. The painting reveals an international political theme, the elements presented are from Mexican culture, in a self-acted scenario in which Frida Kahlo is the protagonist.
8. The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo, 1939
The Two Fridas painting expresses the painter's feelings of sadness and loneliness, after her separation from Diego Rivera. Amidst the turbulent and turbulent sky, two Frida Kahlo personalities are portrayed holding hands. One is traditional Frida Kahlo in Tehuan attire, heartbroken, sitting next to a more independent Frida, dressed in a modern way. Both have visible hearts, however the “traditional Frida” is bloodied with her heart cut open, demonstrating her vulnerability and despair. The couple eventually remarried and stayed together until Frida Kahlo died.
9. Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair by Frida Kahlo, 1940
In this self-portrait, Frida Kahlo abandoned the feminine attributes, replacing traditional Tehuana embroidered dresses and flowers in her hair, with a baggy men's suit and a short haircut. The direct gaze that confronts the viewer remains, in addition to the high-heeled shoes and gold earrings. Around her are the strands of hair that the artist herself cut, in order to symbolize her androgenity but also her separation from Diego Rivera. At the top, the artist wrote " Mira que si te que, fué por el pelo, Now that you're pelana, ja no te quiero ." (Look if I loved you, it was because of your hair. Now that you're bald, I don't love you.)
10. Vida la Viva by Frida Kahlo, 1954
The last painting produced by Frida Kahlo was Viva la Vida, Watermelon , a still life that expresses the ephemeral nature of life. With rich contrasts of colors, curves and angles, this painting exposes an intense message in an almost ironic way: "Long live long". This fruit with a hard skin but with a soft interior, is compared to the artist herself, who had to develop a skin strong to withstand the pains of life but inside it remained with a great creative side, full of vibrant colors.In mythology the seeds of watermelons symbolize both fertility and immortality, as they carry the promise of a new life for eternity. Although Frida Kahlo 's life was short, her seeds continue to fertilize the field of art.