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Kahlo vs. Duchamp - Essay Example

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Introduction Religion and spirituality has been a part of the art world since time immemorial. Perhaps because religion is so fundamental to the human existence that art has naturally gravitated towards themes surrounding religious institutions and figures…
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Kahlo vs. Duchamp
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"Kahlo vs. Duchamp"

Download file to see previous pages Religious figures were not prominent in her paintings, although several paintings suggest a spiritual side of Kahlo, in which death and its relationship to life are explored. Likewise, Duchamp, being a total iconoclast and a card-carrying member of the Futurist mode of art, eschewed tradition, and, because there is no institution more traditional then religion, Duchamp also did not overtly make religious art. However, like Kahlo, he did make art that can be interpreted in a religious way, even if these paintings are non-representational, non-traditional and make commentary on religions that are in line with his non-traditional, Futurist ways. Religion and Frida Kahlo Kahlo, as explained above, was not overtly religious in her paintings, however, their symbolism does suggest a type of religious sensibility. Such is the way that Herrara (1983) describes The Broken Column.1 Painted after Kahlo suffered a serious accident at the age of 18, in which Kahlo was riding in a wooden bus that collided with a streetcar. Kahlo was impaled with an iron handrail, and, for the first month after the accident, it was not certain that she would live. For many months after that, Frida lay immobilized in plaster casts and other contraptions, her spinal column broken in three places, along with her collarbone, right leg, pelvis, and right foot (Herrera, 1983). The Broken Column was Frida's response to this tragedy, and, on the surface, its meaning is clear - Frida was broken inside. The painting showed an outside of perfection and beauty firm, taut breasts, perfect brown skin, long, flowing hair and a youthful face. However, the opening in the body that shows the steel-plated spine, and the fact that she is shown corseted, tells the true story. Frida was severely injured, and this painting literally shows her injuries. Moreover, the expression on her face, defiant and proud, shows that world that Frida is not about to give up in the face of pain and anguish. The steel spine, while emblematic of the accident, may also literally mean that her spine was steeled, in the sense that she is strong and will not give up. Therefore, a literal interpretation of this painting is of a defiant woman who was broken but not bowed. However, Herrara (1983) states that the painting has a religious symbolism as well. Herrara states that the corsets are evocative of Christ's winding sheet, which ties this painting in with traditional Christian symbolism (Herrara, 1983). The implication for this is clear, in that Kahlo's suffering and pain were somehow transcendent, in that they have made her a martyr, much like earlier Christians. After all, Kahlo got into painting because of the accident Frida stated that, after the accident, she had to keep still, which led her into painting - ?ithout paying much attention, I began to paint, because, after the accident, she was ?ored as hell with a plaster cast, so I decided to do something. I stole from my father some oil paints, and my mother ordered for me a special easel because I couldn't sit [up], and I started to paint(Herrara, 1983). Frida's accident, and the pain and suffering which came after it, was necessary for Frida to find her artistic voice and give to the world her gift. Therefore, like Christ before her, Frida had to suffer pain and sacrifice for the good of the world. Because of this, Herrara saw The Broken Column as Frida's imagery which evokes a Christian martyr, and spiritual suffering. The painting takes on a religious significance that, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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