Frida Kahlo Analysis

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Suffering is inadequate to describe the life of Frida Kahlo. Her childhood was marred with polio; a streetcar accident shattered her left leg, shoulder, pelvic bones, ribs, and spine; her husband shattered her heart with numerous love affairs; and she suffered three miscarriages throughout her life. Her physical and psychological suffering bound her life into the limited identity of a crippled patient. Yet even as the streetcar accident left her crippled, her self-portraits gave her wings to soar. She was her own subject, perpetually exploring and identifying herself through her paintings. When asked why she painted so many self-portraits, Kahlo replied, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” (Kettenmann, 18) For Frida Kahlo, her self-portraits were not mere artwork. They were a way to express her complex, multifaceted identities – as a survivor who battled illness, as a wronged wife, as a wanderer caught between the identity her husband wanted and the identity she wished to have, and as a woman who yearned for a motherhood she could not have – and ultimately use her portraits to grow in all of these identities.…show more content…
When Frida was eighteen years old, the bus she was riding on and an oncoming streetcar collided, resulting in an injury so disastrous that one of Kahlo’s friends later said, “They had to put her back together in sections as if they were making a photomontage.” (Herrera, 50) This accident became a watershed moment to Kahlo for two reasons: she began to suffer from sequelae for the rest of her life, and she started to draw. Since she had to stay only in her bed, her parents installed a special easel and mirror for Frida so she could draw her portrait. She was first influenced by the European style of art, but later developed a unique Mexican style of

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