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Frida Kahlo the Mexican Painter - Book Report/Review Example

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This paper explores the art and life of Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo is perhaps the best known Mexican painter of her time. Her style is very eclectic but it can be best described as a combination of realism, symbolism and surrealism that she utilised to depict the rich indigenous culture…
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Frida Kahlo the Mexican Painter
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Frida Kahlo the Mexican Painter

Download file to see previous pages... The paper "Frida Kahlo the Mexican Painter" analyzes Frida Kahlo and her art. She is also famous for her self-portraits, which often reflect her physical pain and the suffering she experienced daily. The present report is a critique of the articles “Plotting Women: Gender and Representation in Mexico” by Franco, “Her Dress Hangs Here: De-frocking the Kahlo Cult” by Baddeley and “Mestizo Modernism: Race, Nation and Identity in Latin American Culture, 1900–1940” by Hedrick, who have performed an in-depth analysis of Frida Kahlo’s life and work. But to understand her art it is vital that we learn about her life. Frida Kahlo was born in 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico. She was of German descent on the paternal side of the family since her grandparents, although both were born in Germany, sailed to Mexico where they decided to settle in 1891. Her mother Matilde, on the other hand, was of indigenous descent primarily but mixed with Spanish and thus a devout Catholic. Her childhood is greatly marked by the Mexican Revolution. In her personal diary she recorded memories from this period. At the age of six, she fell ill with the polio. This left her partially deformed, since now her left leg looked thinner than her right, a fact she would hide by wearing long skirts. But it was not until 1925, at the age of 18, that she suffered a very severe accident that would change her life completely. While riding in a bus, the vehicle collided with a trolley car causing her serious injuries, including a broken spinal column.
, a broken collarbone, several broken ribs, a broken pelvis, 11 fractures in her left leg, a dislocated (and crushed) right foot and a dislocated shoulder. She also suffered a very considerable wound to her uterus, which was pierced by a metallic handrail seriously damaging her ability to have children.
Eventually, she recovered from this tragedy and was able to walk again although, as can be seen in some of the photographs, often aided by a walking stick. However, she lived in continuous, intense pain that often led to her confinement to hospital for months at a time. She is believed to have undergone as many as 35 operations in her lifetime as a consequence of the accident.
1.3. Marriage and Influences
As a young artist, Frida was a great admirer of the cubist muralist Diego Rivera. When she had the occasion she approached him and asked for his advice on the potential of pursuing art as a career. They were later married in spite of her family's opposition due to the age difference (ca. 20 years).
Together they led a flamboyant life in Mexico and travelled to the United States in the early 1930s, visiting Detroit, New York City and San Francisco, where he was commissioned to do murals. It is through this trips and other she had taken to undergo surgery that she gained a knowledge of the Western world and especially North American society, which she would later represent (and indeed despise! She refers to is derogatorily as "Gringolandia" (Baddeley, p. 14, line 37)) in Self-Portrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States (Baddeley analyses this painting in depth in p. 15-16)
Perhaps as a consequence of her childhood memories of the revolution, Kahlo, like her husband, maintained a loyalty to left-wing party politics. In fact, she was a member of the Communist Party. Due to their position as artist, they were at the centre of Mexican cultural life in the 1920s and 1930s together with a group of other Mexican artists and intellectuals (Franco and Hedrick ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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