Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Frida Kahlo And The Symbolism In Her Art

20th century

Frida Kahlo And The Symbolism In Her Art

Frida Kahlo who lived during the first half of the 20th century changed the art history in a way that she put her own dreams in her artworks. She was affected from several occasions as she had a bus accident and many love affairs that she expressed in an open manner. She used Christian symbolism merging with her own dreams that she called her reality.

After her periods of depression and miscarriages in her life she gave herself into pets around her. She liked to use monkeys, hummingbirds, dogs and cats in her artwork. One of her self-portrait depicts her with three spider monkeys surrendered Kahlo as a protective and tender symbols. On the contrary, Mexican mythology suggests monkeys are the symbols of lust and generally used in that manner.

Frida Kahlo symbolism Self Portrait with Monkeys, Frida Kahlo, 1943

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Monkeys, 1943, private collection


Frida Kahlo’s most significant self-portrait was Self- Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. According to some art historians, Kahlo wanted to depict that she was resurrected and started to a new life with this painting. As a symbol of this opinion, hummingbird was taking its place in her necklace. Hummingbird symbolizes hope and good luck in Mexican culture. However, audience may notice the black cat- known as bad luck symbol- taking its place behind the right shoulder of Kahlo. Different interpretations offer that hummingbird pendant refers to Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war, which hurts Kahlo internally.

Frida Kahlo symbolism Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, Frida Kahlo, 1940, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, Austin

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, Austin

Other important symbols of the painting were butterflies and thorn necklace. Butterflies symbolize resurrection and it may refer to her rebirth in life after the accident. Furthermore, thorn necklace she wears may be the symbol of Jesus’s crown thorn, which was worn while dragged and crucified.

Frida Kahlo symbolism Matthias Grünewald, Christ on Cross, 1470-1528, originally on the other side of the panel known as the Tauberbischofsheim altarpiece

Matthias Grünewald, Christ on Cross, 1470-1528, originally on the other side of the panel known as the Tauberbischofsheim altarpiece

In addition to these symbolizations, Kahlo had a painting that both uses Christianity and animal symbolism in one subject matter. Painting The Little Dear, 1946 made by Frida Kahlo depicts her as a deer, which has a face of the painter. However, there is a much more important detail in this artwork that deer was wounded by the arrows similar to Andrea Mantegna’s Saint Sebastian, 1480. This was also a reference to crucifixion and resurrection.

Frida Kahlo symbolism The Wounded Deer, Frida Kahlo, 1946, private collection

The Wounded Deer, Frida Kahlo, 1946, private collection

Frida Kahlo symbolism Saint Sebastian, Andrea Mantegna, 1431-1506, Louvre Museum, Paris

Saint Sebastian, Andrea Mantegna, 1431-1506, Louvre Museum, Paris


Frida’s strong character can be seen not only in her intriguing paintings, that are directly linked to her life, but also in her famous colorful clothing. Read our article “Looking For Fashion Inspiration? Check Out Frida Kahlo’s Clothing“.

Find out more:

     


Comments

More in 20th century

  • 20th century

    Filmmaking is like Painting – Andrzej Wajda as a Painter

    By

    Ladies and Gentlemen, and now I will speak in Polish… – the famous words Polish director Andrzej Wajda (1926-2016) said while receiving an honorary Oscar in 2000 for a lifetime achievement crowned WAJDA, an exhibition revealing Wajda as a painter. Andrzej Wajda is one of the...

  • 20th century

    Demystifying Cycladic Figurines

    By

    Cycladic figurines have a mythical aura. Their gleaming abstract forms speak of timeless beauty. But what actually are they? Why do they look like a Brancusi sculpture (or why do Brancusi sculptures look like them)? Once Upon a Time… …people thought the marble carvings from the...

  • 20th century

    100 Years of Bauhaus. It’s Dance Time: The Triadic Ballet

    By

    2019 celebrates 100 years of Bauhaus. Widely known for their iconic design and contributions to the art world, Bauhaus concepts also extended into dance. Not as well known as their crafts, the dances nevertheless, encompassed the values and constructs of the workshop: modernity, geometry, experimentation and...

  • 20th century

    Beatles and Biennales – the Life and Times of Robyn Denny

    By

    In a grim and conservative post-war Britain, Robyn Denny burst onto the art scene like a Holi festival colour bomb. He arrived at art school in London in 1951 just as British art was looking away from its European heritage, over the ocean to America, where...

  • 20th century

    Joseph Beuys at BASTIAN Gallery

    By

    Joseph Beuys (1921 – 1986), currently on display at BASTIAN gallery, was a controversial German artist, whose work regularly caused public debate. Ritual and unorthodox materials, in particular animal fat and felt, characterize his wide-ranging artistic practice. His work also plays an important role in the...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy