Frida Kahlo: A Life in Pain
“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my reality,” said Frida Kahlo describing her art work (Frida Kahlo n.d.). Kahlo was a Mexican artist from the mid-20th century. She was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico, and the daughter of German and Mexican descendants (Lucie-Smith 1999). During her lifetime Kahlo embarked on many hardships caused by illness, heartache, and love. She became known for her haunting self portraits, radical politics, and that infamous unibrow (Stephen 2008).
The turmoil began early for this young woman. At age six, she was stricken with polio, which left her walking with a limp. From the beginning Kahlo did not intend to become an artist. She was attending school at The Preparatoria (Preparatory) to become a famous doctor (Frida Kahlo n.d.). It was on September 17, 1925 that the most pivotal moment in her life occurred. Kahlo was on her way home from school when she became involved in a tragic bus accident. She was discovered by her boyfriend at the time, Alejandro Gomez Avais. Her slender body had been pierced by a hand rail (Lucie-Smith 1999). Many, including doctors, thought she wouldn’t make it. She proved wrong after surviving various surgeries. For a year she was put in bed to recuperate. The accident left her with a broken back, broken pelvis, and a crushed leg. During her recuperation she taught herself she taught herself to paint by studying Italian Renaissance (Frida Kahlo n.d.). She began painting portraits of family members and still life from her bed.
It was at the Preparatoria where she had met her future husband, Diego Rivera a famous Mexican muralist; it was love at first sight (Stephen 2008). Kahlo would reunite with him in 1929 through a friendship with Tina Modotti (Lucie-Smith 1999). They married in August 1929, Kahlo later expressed: “I suffered two grave accidents in my life. One in which a street car knocked me down… the other accident is Diego” (Frida Kahlo n.d.). Rivera was a very charismatic guy standing at above six feet tall and between two hundred and three hundred pounds. Unfortunately he wasn’t the best looking man out there. Kahlo is said to have called him ‘frog.’ His looks didn’t hold him back from being a womanizer. There was something about his aura that attracted women. People considered their marriage “between an elephant and a dove.” Kahlo understood that painting was Rivera’s prime element. For a while she stopped painting and focused her time to Rivera to show that all her attention was on him. She became a bit obsessed. In her diary Kahlo wrote:
“Diego, nothing compares to your hands nothing like the green-gold of your eyes. My body is filled with you for days and days. You are the mirror of the night. The violent flash of lightning. The dampness of the earth. The hallow of your armpits is my shelter. My fingertips touch your blood. All my joy is to feel life spring from your flower-fountain that...