Portrait thorn necklace and a hummingbird, 1940
In the Mexican tradition the hummingbird represents a love charm, though as one may see in this painting the bird seems dead. It is tied to a thorn necklace which seems to cause her pain.
On Frida’s left shoulder there is a disturbing looking cat whom is look for the moment to leap at the bird. The monkey on her right arm will also jump in to mass as soon as it begins.
For Frida, the monkey represents a domestic animal.
In context to her life at that time the cat is intimidating and implies danger, this danger is against Frida’s love life and her perception of household stability.
This painting is built in vertical composition.
Her mono eyebrow relates to the shape of the hummingbird, where the monkey and the cat create focus upon Frida’s face.
The manner in which Khalo chose to paint herself is not a mistake but a clear feminist shout against the European culture which encourages women to look and behave in a certain manner. In that way her facial features are encrypted, at a first glimpse you might suspect that the image in the painting is a man, but Kahlo carefully puts to use feminine features around her Mexican culture motives.
It is said that when a person suffers the most, he or she tends to overcome his/hers suffering by being creative. Kahlo is an example of a person that has proven this saying to be true.
1939 was the hardest year for Kahlo,for it was the time that she and Diego Rivera split up.
This year was harder than all the years of Kahlo’s suffering.
At the age of 6 she got Polio, a few years later she was in a harsh accident, in which a bus hit the tramcar she was in, consequently a metal spire pierced her body.
Ever since she had suffered a great deal of pain and endured many surgeries, all of limited success.
She was bound to spend most of her time in bed, thus to make the best use of her time she asked a big mirror to be placed by her bedside so she could paint herself. Fifty five of her 140 paintings are self-portraits.
Later she explained that the reason is because she spent much time by herself and knows herself best.
To read more about Frida Kahlo http://www.artchive.com/artchive/K/kahlo.html
for extra information about Frida http://www.chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/frida.php
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