Frida Kahlo

Gigi Rios, Period 3

Early Childhood

Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 and died on July 13, 1954. Her father, Guillermo Kahlo (originally named Wilhelm) was originally from Germany. He moved to Mexico when he was 19 and became a photographer who also painted as a hobby. When Frida was six years old she was diagnosed with polio and was bed written for nine months. Due to the illness, one of Frida's legs was weaker than the other. Her father enrolled her in many sports so it would get stronger. These were very unusual activities at the time for a young girl to participate in. When Frida turned 15 she started high school at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City, the best high school in Mexico.

A Terrible Accident

At the age of 18 Frida and her boyfriend of the time, Alejandro Gomez Arias, were going to take a bus back to their home in Coyoacan, outside of Mexico City. Alejandro had bought Frida a parasol, but it seemed to be misplaced. Instead of taking that bus they retraced their steps and looked for it. Claiming defeat, they bought a balero and saw the next bus was just arriving. Of course they both thought it was a lucky break. But it turned out to be something very different. The bus driver made a distracted mistake and crossed over the tracks of the trolley car. An oncoming trolley hit the bus on its side, destroying it, and continued to push it until it was wedged against a wall. The trolley still didn't stop until the bus was virtually obliterated. Alejandro was knocked out in the explosion and thrown out of the bus. When he resurfaced, he went back on the bus to find Frida with a metal handrail puncturing below her hip. Once it was removed by a fellow passenger, the emergency services took her to the hospital. Her spinal column was broken in three places, her collarbone was broken as well. She broke her third and fourth rib, had a dislocated shoulder, and crushed right ankle. Her leg was fractured in eleven places and her hip was broken in three. She also suffered froom a deep abdominal wound that would later cause her to be incapable of concieving children.

Her Artwork


Her Impact

The first thing most people learn about Frida Kahlo is that she has a unibrow. For some, that will be the only thing they learn about her. But, Kahlo offered the world a different viewpoint through her artwork. She showed us what it was truly like to be a Mexican woman during that time period. She displayed her feelings and emotions quite graphically in some cases, but kept a veil up for your imagination. Being a female artist and having gone through very trying times, Frida still wasn't afraid to express her feelings through her work and show the world.

My Review

Frida's artwork to me has a strong animal vibe. She's pictured as an animal or with animals in the majority of her artwork. I think she was easily capable of expressing herself through animals or could compare herself to them. Her artwork is very relatable to me, I can remember times feeling the same ways she did when she was painting. I almost feel like all women can, especiallly, on some deeper level. The portrait I will be reviewing is pictured to the left. It is titled "Diego y Yo", meaning Diego and I. This was painted during a challenging time in Diego Rivera and Frida's marriage. At the time, rumors spread that he was having an affair with an actress and was going to marry her. Although the affair never lead anywhere, Frida was still heartbroken. She painted this in response. Diego is pictured on her forehead meaning that he was always on her mind. His third eye suggests that he was mentally and artstically superior to Frida. She also has tears running down her cheeks, this shows that although she joked about her and Diego's relationship, his actions emotionally hurt her. You can also see that her hair is loose and wrapped around her neck. Normally in her paintings her hair is braided or pinned up. This may have been purposely placed, her hair could possibly be wrapped around her neck to symbolize that she is struggling in her relationship with Diego.


Lindauer, Margaret A., Devouring Frida: The Art History and Popular Celebrity of Frida Kahlo. Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, 1999.

Garber, Elizabeth “Art Critics on Frida Kahlo: A Comparison of Feminist and Non-Feminist Voices” Art Education , Vol. 45, No. 2 (Mar., 1992), pp. 42-48

Malyon, John. "Frida Kahlo." The Guide to Great Art on the Internet Artcyclopedia. N.p., 2008. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.

Kahlo, Frida, Sarah M. Lowe, and Carlos Fuentes. The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-portrait. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1995. Print.

"Frida Kahlo." Newsmakers. Detroit: Gale, 1991. Biography in Context. Web. 9 Dec. 2015