Biography of Frida Kahlo

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For this assignment, I chose to write about Frida Kahlo. About a year ago, I was not familiarized with many artists except for the well none artist you hear about everywhere, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Leonardo Da Vinci; so when I stumbled upon Frida Kahlo on Google images I was impressed to have found not only a well-known female artist but also a Mexican female artist. Being a child of grown are raised Mexican parents made me feel more connected to this artist and I grew a strong liking towards her.

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The Broken Column and Tree Of Hope Keep Firm are two of my favorite paintings made by Frida. The reason I chose them was based on how symbolic they represent and how mysterious they appear. The Mexican artists, Frida Kahlo, is not one to ignore; her reputation is one of the strongest and most influential artists which is demonstrated through her self-portraits and painful backstory.

Frida Kahlo, who is known as Mexico’s greatest artist, was born on July 6, 1907 by a father of German descent and a mother half Amerindian and half Spanish. She was the third child and had suffered through polio which left her right leg thinner than her left one. In addition, at the age of 18 Frida Kahlo got into an accident when the bus she travels on was hit by a trolley (Frida Kahlo, 2019). A steel handrail had penetrated through her body (, 2019). Frida Kahlo’s accident caused a great damage to her spinal cord.

She had to stay at the hospital for weeks and at home she was forced to wear a full body cast for three months. However, the accident was the whole reason why the great artist started painting in the first place. Painting was a way Frida Kahlo could entertain herself while she was recovering (, 2019). She became well known for being a surrealist, painting self-portraits and the message behind each of them. At the age of 22, Frida Kahlo married Diego Rivera, a popular Mexican artist at the time.

Together they helped each other with their art careers yet, their relationship endured many issues. Diego has had many affairs, one of which was with Frida’s sister. And in 1934 Frida Kahlo experienced her second miscarriage, she is not able to bear a child because of her trolley accident. Frida Kahlo was betrayed, and heart broken. Yet through all that, Frida Kahlo had an exhibition at the New York City gallery where she sold some of her paintings and was given two commissions. In 1940, Frida Kahlo remarried Diego Rivera and the relationship continues the same as before. Frida Kahlo’s father passed away in 1941 and she still was struggling with chronic health problems.

In 1944, Frida Kahlo painted The Broken Column, the painting expressed her physical challenges and became a very famous piece. Around the same time, she went through several operations and treatments for her chronic pain and in 1950 it only gets worse. Frida Kahlo fought on and continued painting and in 1953 she has her own exhibition in Mexico (Frida Kahlo, 2019). Finally, in on July 13, 1954 Frida Kahlo passes away from a pulmonary embolism; however, some believe it was from an overdose (, 2019). To this day Frida Kahlo’s paintings are still very popular, and her name has not been forgotten.

Frida Kahlo has created several unique and appealing paintings throughout her life. One of my favorites by her is called The Broken Column. This piece was made in 1944 and was created using oil paint on canvas (Frida Kahlo, 2019). In it, you can see a self-portrait of Frida Kahlo standing in an unfamiliar and deserted landscape with mountains in the far back. The sky is blue with no clouds and ground seems to be braking.

Frida Kahlo is naked from the torso and up, revealing her breasts. The lower half of her body it covered in a white dirty sheet that waves through the air. The painting also shows several small nails impaled all over Frida Kahlo’s face and body. Her body is rapped up in a white corset for support. And what draws the eyes is the opening of Frida Kahlo’s midline; it extends from her neck to her belly. Inside the opening is an unstable metallic rode that looks to be a spinal cord with several cracks.

There is also small details in the painting such as the shining in her eyes and the several tear drops running down on both sides of her eyes. She exaggerates her unibrow and even draws the middle point of the eyebrow downward so that it looks like a flying bird. This artwork is a representation of the pain Frida Kahlo suffered from the accident she went through. She shows viewers what it was like for her to recover such accident.

The artwork includes both elements of design and principles of design. Horizontal lines are found on several areas such as the straps painted onto Frida Kahlo for support and the lines included in the background depicts the terrain as dry and harsh. The lines are also used to divide the sky from the terrain. The shape of Frida Kahlo’s skin, hair, and breasts are soft while other parts in the piece are depicted more concrete and hard-edged such as the terrain and spinal column.

Warm colors, such as Frida Kahlo’s skin and the terrain she stands, on are broken up by cool colors such as, the white straps and sheets covering her and the blue sky above the terrain this allows both colors to complement each other. The texture from the white sheet around Frida Kahlo’s waist is painted with several bundles to show its smoothness and flexibility it has. Also, the detail imbedded in her hair and nails on her body give off a realistic texture, almost like a three-dimensional appearance. The piece shows emphasis in an area which would be the opening of Frida Kahlo’s midline; this is used to make the viewer focus more on that spot and signifies there is an important reason to.

Balance is also incorporated, for example the multiple tears on Frida Kahlo’s face are visually distributed equally, this creates a sense of satisfaction towards the artwork. Looking at the painting you can see that each individual part comes together as a whole design which refers to unity, this is used so that no other parts look out of the ordinary.

Ultimately this piece sends out a depressing mood and portrays the image as misery and agony by the tears painted under Frida Kahlo’s eyes and the pain her body it portray in the image. This piece was made to show the artists view of her own life and what is currently happening in it. The message Frida Kahlo tries to convey is that she was not happy at that point of her life and feels trap and alone. The trolley crash has damaged her body, especially her spine, making her life less easy.

Another one of my favorite pieces by Frida Kahlo is called Tree of Hope, Keep Firm. It was made in 1946 and was created using oil paints on canvas (Frida Kahlo, 2019). In this painting Frida Kahlo splits it down the middle so it seems as if there are two paintings combined. The left side shows the sun surrounded by the blue and white sky and below that you see terrain with several cracks emerging.

The right side is like the left but instead of a sun it has a small moon surrounded by the dark sky and the terrain underneath is now much darker. In the center of the whole painting is a hospital bed laid out horizontally. A woman is painted at the head of the bed turned at her side so that her back is facing us. Her shoulders are rapped with a white sheet and her hair dangles off the bed. Two bloody lacerations are carved on her lower back.

And at the end of the bed Frida Kahlo is sitting on a wooden chair while wearing a large red dress. In her had she holds two objects: a flag with the title of the piece written on it and a corset. This piece is a representation of Frida Kahlo’s poor health condition getting worse. The woman with back lacerations is Frida when she had her terribly botched surgery and besides her is Frida Kahlo now acknowledging the pain she will have to carry throughout her life.

In this painting some elements and principles of design are displayed. Horizontal lines are seen in the background to separate the sky from the terrain this is used to indicate how close the portrait is from the background. Soft and harsh shapes are diverted to be clearly distinguishable. For the background warm colors are used on the left side and cool colors are used for the right side, this type of coloring indicates two parts of the painting are opposite or have different views from each other.

There is also bright colors used such as red for the dress Frida paints herself with, since it is a bright color your eyes draw to it first which means red paint was used to emphasis herself. The value changes from light to dark in order to describe the scene in ways that colors can’t. The way the terrain is painted with hard edges gives it a realistic sharp texture. By the way the background is divided you can see the symmetrical balance this painting uses, such as the placement of the sun and moon, this creates a sense of satisfaction from the viewers.

Frida Kahlo paints herself larger than most other aspects of the painting to symbolize she is the dominant one. Contrast is displayed beneath the cracks of the terrain to develop depth and form. Also, contrast can be seen on the bottom portion of Frida Kahlo’s dress, it shows the drapery the dress folds into to bring out its smoothness and flexibility.

This artwork gives off a strong but ominous mood by the expression on Frida Kahlo’s face and how she holds her stance as she is placed in an eerie scene. Frida Kahlo painted this to express the way she felt at that moment. I believe what Frida Kahlo was trying to say through this piece is that your past may experience life changing moments, but it should never stop u from growing and should never reduce your confidence.

The stories about Frida Kahlo’s life, without a doubt, has impacted many individuals such as I. Reading and listening about Frida Kahlo’s past has allowed me to fully understand why she began painted and how she was able to create such unique ideas. She has experienced so much pain that it’s too hard not to feel bad for her, but even through everything she has gone through, she has always had a brave face on.

Besides being from the same country my entire family grew up on, her confidence and strong heart is what drove me to admire her so much. She only paints what she knows best and that’s her life. Even though I don’t love every single one of her paintings she is still my top favorite artist because of her painting style. Her paintings were not realistic but instead surrealist. She makes it clear that it’s okay for women to paint their emotions.

Each painting has its own meaning, such as The Broken Column, to me it signifies freedom that has been lost within the artist herself. She is suffering and feels the agony all over her body and is not afraid to express it. With the Tree of Hope Keep Firm, it signifies independence and bravery. Frida Kahlo knows her continuous pain will never end but she keeps herself collected. Her frustrations are demonstrated with this art an is the reason why so many women see Frida Kahlo as a female role model.

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Biography of Frida Kahlo. (2019, Oct 25). Retrieved from