The Life of Frida Kahlo


Frida Kahlo is a famous Mexican painter born in the early 1900s whose work represented her life experiences and indigenous background. A majority of her work is of her iconic self-portraits that show beautiful colors and the pain she experienced. 


Her childhood was far from easy. When she was 6 years old she contracted polio and was bedridden for nine months. Twelve years later, she was in a horrible bus accident which caused her to be in a full body cast for three months. I guess as the saying goes, “everything happens for a reason,” worked out in her case. Yes, she fractured her pelvis and spine, but this was also the time when she was introduced to painting. She used her art to show how tough her life had been and how deteriorating her health was as time went on. It’s so crazy to me how she was able to make such beautiful pieces while in a hospital bed for months on end. Honestly, I think at that point I would’ve lost my mind. 


The pointillism you see to the left was made by looking at one of my favorite self-portraits of hers, titled: “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird”. Painted in 1940, Frida put so many symbolic elements that represented who she was as well as her life in this portrait. She was known for being right on the line of realism and surrealism, and we can totally see that in this painting. For example, someone would never purposefully  wear a necklace of thorns. Here they are seen cutting into her skin causing her to bleed and she has such a calm look on her face. This is another way that Frida is showing how she endures whatever pain that life throws at her.  We rarely ever see a smile in any of her sixty self-portraits. 


I personally love looking back at the works of old masters and being able to recognize the amount of symbols they put into each piece. With this 16-by-24 inch portrait we’re able to see a bird which often represents freedom and life. However, Frida added her own twist to show the resemblance of the lifeless hummingbird to the expression on her face. 


Quote, splitting up text in bigger font: 

“I paint self portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”

– Frida Kahlo