FRIDA KAHLO

October 10, 2013

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A week before our trip, Ryan and I tried to watch every movie we could think of that was set in Europe – quite the marathon. Some good, some very bad but one that stuck out for me was Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen’s 2008 romantic comedy. Not only am I in love with Javier Bardem, but the drama between his character and Penelope Cruz reminded me so much of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo‘s infamous love-hate relationship. They shared the same toxic mess of passion, art, and jealousy.

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It’s crazy to think that I started this blog over a year ago and haven’t even mentioned my slight obsession with Frida, so here she is. Tragically gorgeous and unforgettable.

Frida Kahlo painting

Growing up during the Mexican Revolution, Frida’s life was far from boring. She suffered a lifetime of pain, both physical and emotional. A horrific car accident at the age of 17 left her restless in a full body cast for over 3 months. Bedridden, she focused on her art and began painting. As soon as she was able to walk again, Frida hesitantly fell in love and married artist Diego Rivera. He broke her heart countless times but she always forgave him. Eventually they divorced. And then remarried.

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The painting above, called The Two Fridas/Las Dos Fridas is one of my favorites, expressing pain and abandonment on the left, love and health on the right. It’s a sad comparison between the way Frida wanted to feel and appear vs. the unfortunate reality of her life.

I’m not exactly sure why I’m so drawn to Frida’s paintings but I love her uninhibited self-portraits and bold color choices, both symbols of pride to me. I’m also interested in her combination of traditional Mexican culture with the idea of surrealism. In 1938, Frida’s work was described as a “ribbon around a bomb” by André Breton, principal initiator of the surrealist movement.

She was a feisty one for sure, but never lost her sense of style and grace.

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