If You Claim To Be A Frida Kahlo Fan Then You Better Be Informed About These 20 Paintings By Her
Throughout her life’s work, Frida Kahlo created paintings that depicted her life, culture, Mexicanidad, indigeneity, grief, and suffering. The serious subject matter of her work has long been lauded by art critics and fans of her work alike.
Here’s a look at Kahlo’s 20 most popular portraits.
1. The Two Fridas
This oil painting which was part of Kahlo’s Naïve art period depicts two versions of Kahlo sitting side by side together. One wears a white European-style Victorian dress while the other is wearing a traditional Tehuana dress. Some suggest that the two figures are a representation of Frida’s dual heritage.
2. The Broken Column
This oil painting made in 1944 was created by Kahlo shortly after she had spinal surgery to correct chronic problems from a serious traffic accident. In this painting, Frida aligns herself with the martyr Saint Sebastian who was discovered to be a Christian and tied to a tree and used as an archery target.
3. The Wounded Deer
This painting created around the end of Kahlo’s life was made when her health was on a downward spiral. In this oil painting, Kahlo combines pre-Columbian, Buddhist, and Christian symbols to express her influences and beliefs.
4. Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird
Kahlo created this self-portrait after her divorce from Diego Rivera and the end of her affair with photographer Nickolas Muray. The painting brings into coordination Frida’s identification with indigenous Mexican culture which greatly affected her painting aesthetic. Kahlo’s use of powerful iconography from her indigenous Mexican roots asserts hers sense of rebellion against colonial forces and male rule.
In this photo, the dead hummingbird around her neck represents a good luck charm. The black panther in the background is a symbol of bad luck and death and the monkey is meant to represent evil.
5. Without Hope
On the back of this painting which was created by Kahlo in 1954, Kahlo wrote “Not the least hope remains to me…Everything move in time with what the belly contains.” She created this painting after her father prescribed her to be force fed.
6. Diego and I
In this painting, Frida reveals the anguish she feels about her relationship with Diego Rivera. The portrait reveals her deep pain and hurt over his infidelity and affair with film actress Maria Felix.
7. Self-Portrait with Monkey
In Mexican mythology, monkeys are a symbol of lust. In this portrait, however, the monkeys are adoring, loving and nurturing. Kahlo’s decision to depict monkeys is consistent with her constant incorporation of them as companions. In life, Frida kept monkeys as well as many other pets in the garden of her Blue House in Mexico.
8. Self-Portrait as a Tehuana
This painting which was painted in 1940 was made after she and Diego divorced. The painting has two other names “Diego in My Thoughts” and “Thinking of Diego.” This painting reveals Frida’s consumption with Diego Rivera, who continued to have affairs with other women throughout their relationship.
Even despite his betrayals, she could not stop thinking about him and portrayed this by painting a small portrait of him on her brow which depicts her obsessive love for him.
9. Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair
Kahlo painted this self-portrait during a particularly difficult time in her life. Frida’s husband Diego Rivera had long told Frida of how much she admired her long, dark hair, which, are depicted in the tresses on the floor of the painting. After they broke up she cut off her hair. In this picture, she shows herself sitting in an oversized suit that resembles the ones that Rivera often wore.
10. What the Water Gave Me
What the Water Gave Me (Lo que el agua me dio in Spanish) the artist creates her own biography. As the scholar, Natascha Steed, points out, “her paintings were all very honest and she never portrayed herself as being more or less beautiful than she actually was.”
11. The Suicide of Dorothy Hale
Dorothy Hale is an American act and Ziegfeld showgirl who died by suicide in 1938. Kahlo was commissioned to create a portrait of the actress by a friend and to their surprise, she created a severe retelling of her ultimate death.
12. Henry Ford Hospital (The Flying Bed)
Frida depicts herself in this painting lying in a bed in Henry Ford Hospital naked and bleeding. The painting depicts the discomfort Frida felt during her time in the hospital. In the painting, six objects fly around her. There’s a male fetus which is the son of her and Diego that she lost. There is an orchid which looks like a uterus. The snail is the symbol of how slow the miscarriage and operation took.
13. The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Myself, Diego, and Señor Xolotl
This portrait comes folded with multiple forms of imagery. In this portrait, Frida shows “twofold face of the Universe, the light and dark background of planets and ethereal fog, is holding a murkier Earth (Mexico), whose breasts are lactating. The Earth (Mexico), with all her vegetation, is subsequently holding Frida Kahlo. Continuing further, Frida is then holding a nude Diego Rivera, whose forehead contains a third eye.
This work is rich in symbolism, with multiple layers of meaning. However, the symbols are not unlike many of Kahlo’s other works. Many art critics have contended that The Love Embrace portrays several of Frida’s life struggles, including but not limited to: womanhood, motherhood and Diego Rivera.”
14. My Grandparents, My Parents and Me
Frida Kahlo depicts her family in this portrait of a family tree. In this piece, she is a naked girl holding onto a red ribbon that represents of her bloodline.
15. A Few Small Nips (Passionately in Love)
In 1935, a year after not painting, she created A Few Small Nips, in which she portrays the torture she feels over her pain. In the painting, a bare and bloodied Frida lies on a bed in the face of a knife-wielding killer.
16. Viva la Vida, Watermelons
Eight days before her death, Frida wrote the words “Viva la Vida – Coyoacán 1954 Mexico” into her drawing of the watermelons.
17. The Wounded Table
Like many of Frida’s paintings this piece reflects strongly on her Mexicanidad, indigeneity, as well as her grief and loss. The painting is depicted much like Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last SupperMural. Kahlo is seated at the center of the table and figures that were portrayed in her painting The Four Inhabitants of Mexico City also appear.
18. My Dress Hangs There
Frida started this painting while living in New York and finished it soon after she and Diego moved back to Mexico. On the back of the painting in chalk she wrote “I painted this in New York when Diego was painting the mural in Rockefeller Center”.
“The painting is filled with the icons of modern industrial society of United States but implied the society is decaying and the fundamental human values are destructed. In contrast to this painting, her husband Diego Rivera was working on a mural in the Rockefeller Center to prove his approval of the industrial progress in America”
19. Self-portrait in a Velvet Dress
In this self-portrait, Frida wears a wine-red velvet dress. The painting is one of the most flattering portraits of Kahlo and was created during the start of her career as an artist. In letters, she wrote, about the portrait. “You cannot imagine how marvelous it is to wait for you, serenely as in the portrait.”
20. Girl with Death Mask (She Plays Alone)
In 1938 Frida painted this portrait which depicts Frida herself at age of four as she wearsa skull mask. This mask is a tradition for “Day of the Dead” wear and where death is celebrated instead of mourned. The little is depicts Frida holding a yellow flower in her hands which Mexicans put on graves at the “Day of the Dead” festival.