Professor Richard Smith
December 9, 2014
What is Frida Kahlo’s artwork about?
Frida Kahlo, a bisexual Mexican artist, born on July 6th, 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico. While growing up, Frida never thought of perusing a career in the artistic world. Many say she dreamed of being a physician in the medical field and had no passion for art. As a young age, Frida suffered many injuries, including her tragic accident as a teenager that changed her body and her life forever. These accidents and injuries scarred Frida physically, spiritually, and brought a cyclopean influence her artwork.
Frida’s artwork is mainly about her reality and the pain within it. In her diary, she states, “I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality”. Many of her artworks consist of self-portraits; seventy-two to be exact, yet occasionally she included her family, her husband, clothing, animals, medical, and nature to create new meaning in her pieces. Painting these contents creates symbolism in her artwork, and expresses the way each one of them caused pain to her life.
An example of pain and reality illustrated as symbolism is one of Frida’s famous artworks, Las Dos Fridas, 1939. During this time in which she painted this piece, Frida was married to a famous muralist named Diego Rivera. As good as he was as an artist, Diego was also well known for his womanizing. Kahlo was well aware of his affairs, yet loved him anyway, as she too had affairs of her own. This cheating “agreement” lasted until Kahlo caught Rivera with her younger sister, Christina. Kahlo was “destroyed” by her husband and her sister’s betrayal of trust. This tempestuous painting represents Diego Rivera’s rejection of her. According to Kahlo, the Frida on the right was the one Rivera loved, and the Frida on the left was the rejected Frida. A vein runs between both Fridas, originating in a small photo of Diego on the once-loved Frida’s lap, passing from her heart to the rejected Frida’s heart, which is then cut off by a pair of surgical scissors. However, the flow of blood doesn’t stop, putting Frida into the danger of bleeding to death as it continues to drip, and joins the embroidered flower on the bottom of her dress. The background of a stormy sky filled with gray clouds also provides the content of nature and expresses Frida's inner turmoil. This painting expresses the reality of Frida, the pain that she feels about the separation from Diego, and how she tries to manage the situation by cutting the “cord”.
Aside from Diego, one of Frida Kahlo’s many desires was the bearing of children. Yet, because of her