Frida Kahlo (Painting #5 of 13) “Influential Women”

Frida Kalo

Frida Kahlo
1907 – 1954

“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”

Sage advise for all new literary students: “write about what you know.” Mexican painter Frida Kahlo spent a great deal of time alone convalescing in bed, due to life long injuries sustained in her teens. Frida’s self-portraints were her way of depicting the pain and suffering she endured throughout her life, not with a sense of self pity, but with a mystical optimism that separated her physical being and projected her spiritual core. Originally she wanted to be a doctor but found solace in the brush and the expressive ability that painting afforded her. First mentored and encouraged by Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist, they married 1929. Their union was a tumultuous one, often due to infidelities on both of their parts. Diego had an affair with Frida’s sister, and Frida bedded Leon Trotsy shortly before his assassination in Mexico by Russian agents. The couple were enamored of the Soviet ideology, as were many liberal thinking people of the time.

Always in the shadow of Diego as a painter, her own work was not recognized until after her death. Her paintings are somewhere between Surrealism and Folk Art, but distinctly her own. Her use of color is in the tradition of  Mexican artifacts, and mythology – with the unique symbols of Central America. Frida painted her pain and found her biggest admirers amongst women, who identify with her suffering. Because of her unibrow eyelids, her self- portraits revel in her anomaly rather than try and hide it. Perhaps this is one endearing quality that most appeals to women.

Frida suffered greatly during her life, and towards the end, endured the amputation of her left leg to the knee due to gangrene. A few days before her death, she wrote in her diary: “I hope the exit is joyful – and I hope never to return. Frida”

(Painting photo: Mark Serman)

© Laurence Revene, 2014

~ by Larry Revene on July 4, 2014.

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