Frida Kahlo is one of the most important and representative artists of our country. Throughout the decades, her figure and influence have been present in international art and culture to the extent of presenting several of her great works in different galleries around the world, influencing popular culture and opening a precedent in the world of contemporary art.
In this blog, we tell you a little about the history of this great artist and share with you some facts about three of her greatest works.
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón, known simply as Frida Kahlo, is one of the most important painters of the 20th century and considered one of the greatest representatives of Mexican art.
Frida Kahlo’s life and work were marked by suffering and misfortune. As a child, Frida suffered from poliomyelitis, a disease that would leave her with one leg thinner than the other and with some physical sequels.
But it was not until 1925 when she was 18 years old, that tragedy would catch up with her once again, as the bus in which she was traveling was hit by a streetcar. In this accident Frida suffered multiple injuries and fractures, among which stands out the fact of having been pierced by a pipe from the hip to the vagina, causing irreparable consequences and leaving her bedridden for several months.
It was as a result of this event that Frida began to approach art because with an easel adapted to her bed and a mirror hanging from the ceiling, she began to paint self-portraits that captured her ideas and the loneliness she felt when she was isolated.
During the following years she would meet the great love of her life in a political meeting, Diego Rivera, also a painter. She became involved in a marriage marked by love, infidelity, the after-effects of her accident, and art.
Frida spent her last months in bed after having her right leg amputated due to gangrene, suffering, and under the effects of various pharmaceuticals to alleviate her pain, the physical pain, and the pain of her greatest loss, the end of her marriage. She died on July 13, 1954, one week after her birthday.
Currently and by Frida’s wishes, her ashes lie in the Casa Azul in Coyoacan, Mexico City. This is the place where she was born, where she spent her best years with Diego, and where she died. It is a museum and you can visit it.
Get to know the most representative works of Frida Kahlo.
Throughout Frida’s extensive career, she made around 150 paintings, of which we have made a selection in which we will present you three of her most important works.
Las Dos Fridas. (1939)
The Two Fridas are one of Kahlo’s most iconic paintings and undoubtedly one of the most admired in the world. In this self-portrait. the painter gives us a glimpse of the difficult separation from her husband, Diego Rivera, that same year.
Here we have two Fridas, two versions of a single person, united by the same artery. On the right side, we see a happy Frida, holding a portrait of Diego and wearing a Tehuano style, the same one she adopted during her marriage. While on the other side we see Frida with a European style, a little more serious and cutting the artery that united her with her counterpart.
Autorretrato con collar de espinas y colibrí. (1940)
Created a year after her separation from Diego, in this work Frida once again gives us a glimpse of her inner self about this event. In this portrait we see Frida Kahlo with an indifferent and monotonous look while a necklace of thorns hurts her, symbolizing the pain that her relationship with Diego gave her.
In addition, we can glimpse three important figures, a dead hummingbird as a symbol of her broken marriage, a black cat as a symbol of a bad omen, and, a monkey on her right side, the same pet that Diego would have given her.
It is common knowledge that in all her works Frida tried to portray her reality and undressed herself before the viewer’s eyes.
Naturaleza Muerta: Viva la vida. (1954)
This work was Frida Kahlo’s last painting before her death. According to the story, eight days before Frida’s death, the artist, feeling her death around the corner, decided to pick up the brush and paint her last work, beautiful watermelons with an intense red color in contrast with the blue sky.
On one of the watermelons, the painter wrote her epitaph with her name, the year, where she lived and one of the phrases that ruled her life and that undoubtedly became an icon thanks to Frida, “Viva la vida”.
In recent years, several investigations have suggested that this painting was actually finished in 1952, but that eight days before her death, Frida decided to place the inscription “Viva la Vida, Frida Kahlo, Coyoacán, 1954” on a watermelon.
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