Frida Kahlo is often regarded as one of the most popular female artists and artists of Mexican descent in the world. More than sixty years after her death, Kahlo’s thought-provoking and honest works are still appreciated by those interested in self-expression by means of art. Given the stories behind her famous paintings, it is reasonable to understand Kahlo’s art as the mirror of her life experiences, especially when it comes to tragic events and losses.
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The woman struggled with chronic pain since her early childhood, and it was reflected in many of her works. At the age of six, she developed poliomyelitis and experienced constant pain in her limbs.1 Later in life, she survived after a severe car accident, developed polytrauma, was pierced by an iron handrail, and had a traumatic miscarriage.2 The mentioned events found reflection in Kahlo’s famous self-portraits and were represented either with the help of visual metaphors or more directly. As an example, in The Broken Column created in 1944, the artist depicts herself as a disabled woman with a shattered long column instead of her dorsal spine.3 The themes of temporary disability and physical suffering can also take the form of hidden symbols, and this is why the analysis of Kahlo’s paintings allows learning more about her life and inner experiences.
In reference to artworks and the themes, Frida Kahlo was among the most sincere artists and expressed her physical and emotional pain in the form of paintings, even touching upon very personal topics. As an example, her work titled The Henry Ford Hospital illustrates her suffering related to giving a stillbirth some time earlier.4 Also, in A Few Small Nips, which depicts physical violence, she demonstrates her disappointment related to her husband’s love affair with one of her close relatives. Basically, the discussed person’s art was heavily influenced by her life experiences, especially traumatic events.
- Courtney, Carol A., Michael O’Hearn, and Carla C. Franck. “Frida Kahlo: Portrait of Chronic Pain.” Physical Therapy 97, no.1 (2016): 90-96.
- Prasad, Aarathi. “Frida Kahlo: Endurance and Art.” The Lancet 392, no.10153 (2018): 1105-1106.
- Carol A. Courtney, Michael O’Hearn, and Carla C. Franck. “Frida Kahlo: Portrait of Chronic Pain,” Physical Therapy 97, no.1 (2016): 90.
- Courtney et al., “Frida Kahlo,” 90.
- Ibid., 93.
- Aarathi Prasad, “Frida Kahlo: Endurance and Art,” The Lancet 392, no. 10153 (2018): 1106.