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

  • Chateau Noir by Paul Cezanne Chateau Noir by Paul Cezanne

    Painting of the Week

    Painting of the Week: Chateau Noir by Paul Cézanne

    By

    Today is Paul Cézanne’s birthday (he was born on January 19, 1839), so this Painting of the Week is dedicated to him. It is his landscape Chateau Noir, 1900/1904, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Chateau Noir is one of several paintings Cézanne...

  • 20th century

    Picasso Damaged at Tate Modern

    By

    On the 28th of December 2019, a man from the public marred the Picasso painting, Bust of a Woman. The painting is on a long-term loan from a private collector and it has since been removed from public view for restoration. What is this painting about?...

  • Yves Klein, Anthropometry of the Blue Period (ANT 82), 1960. Artwork © Yves Klein, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, 2017 Yves Klein, Anthropometry of the Blue Period (ANT 82), 1960. Artwork © Yves Klein, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, 2017

    20th century

    January Blues. Blue in Art

    By

    The January Blues, a well-known mood; festivities have come to an end and the winter is starting to feel gloomy. Therefore, to alleviate the melancholy, here is a trio of famous Blues from 20th-century art history. The Blue Nudes by Matisse These lithographs are “cut-outs” by the...

  • 20th century

    Afro-American Artists Arm in Arm: Charles White and Kerry J. Marshall

    By

    Last month the auction house Sotheby’s sold Kerry James Marshall’s painting Vignette 19 for $16 million. That’s a lot of money for a work by a living artist. But last year the same artist did even better. In May 2018, hip-hop producer and rapper P. Diddy bought...

  • 20th century

    Welcoming the Twenties with Tamara de Lempicka

    By

    Today I am taking you to a New Year’s Eve party. This year, like every year, we hope that the year coming will be better. But hearing that the twenties are coming somehow the picture of the 1920s comes to our imagination, with glamorous parties, jazz...

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