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    Frida Kahlo art quizz Essay

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    brief biography
    born – 1907
    died – 1954
    – seriously injured in a bus accident when 18
    – more than 30 operations in her life
    – her paintings are filled with the colours and forms of mexican folk art
    – at 22 she married famous muralist Diego Rivera
    – created some 200 paintings over her life
    – Frida and Diego active in the Communist party Mexico
    – passed away aged 47
    The Two Fridas 1939 (communication of ideas)
    shortly after her divorce to Diego Rivera, Frida completed this painting of two personalities. It records her emotions surrounding her divorce and martial crisis.

    On the right the part of her person that was respected and loved by Diego (the mexican frida) in tehuana costume. in her hand she holds an amulet, bearing the portrait of Diego as a child. On the left, a more rather european frida, that diego abandoned. the hearts of the two fridas lie exposed, a device frida often used to express pain.

    the unloved fridas heart is broken, while the other fridas remains whole. the stormy sky in the background filled with agitated clouds may reflect fridas inner turmoil, holding her own hand she is her only companion.

    What The Water Gave Me 1938 (communication of ideas)
    unlike most of fridas paintings this has no central focus. it is a symbolic work representing various events from the artists life and incorporates numerous elements from her other works aswell as some that appear in her later works.

    the style of the work is ‘surrealistic’. what the water gave her were pictures of the past and present, life and death, comfort and loss. in the midst of this vision was frida, drowned in her imaginings and bleeding from the corner of her mouth. she is kept afloat by a lasso that serves as a tightrope for insects and a miniature dancer.

    “it is an image of the passing time… about childhood games in the bathtub and the sadness of what has happened to her over the course of her life”.

    Painting materials
    Kahlo worked primarily in the medium of oil on canvas or masonite.
    Painting materials (oil)
    The majority of Frida Kahlo’s works were done using the medium of oil. Oil painting has a rich history, which began during the European Renaissance. Many major works of Western art are done in an oil medium.

    Oil paints are composed of pigments that are distributed within an oil, commonly linseed oil. These oils help the paint dry more slowly than water-based paints, which dry by evaporation. Because of this, oil paintings can be RENDERED at a slower pace. All of Frida Kahlo’s most significant works were painted using the medium of oil.

    Painting materials (Masonite and Canvas)
    Regardless of the painter, canvas is one of the most commonly used mediums for oil painting. The canvas material is stretched over wooden stretcher boards and frequently coated with gesso before the paint is applied. Many of Frida Kahlo’s paintings, including “Self-Portrait with Monkeys,” were done on masonite, a smooth hardboard invented in the 1920s. This board became popular with painters shortly after its invention because of its smooth surface which required little preparation before APPLYING paint.

    With techniques learned from both her husband and her father, a professional architectural photographer, she created haunting, sensual and stunningly original paintings that fused elements of surrealism, fantasy and folklore into powerful narratives.
    Techniques 2
    some are very conventional, frequently painting herself realistically from her torso up and with her head facing forward.
    painting in bed ‘spontaneous influence’
    retablo: small, personal paintings
    usually painted small works – eg broken column
    uses layers
    Materials (general)
    small metal plates (retablo)
    oil on canvas (eg two fridas)
    oil on masonite (eg broken column)
    her realistic style would allow her to develop her own unique style that appears surrealist, but deals with the strange, painful reality she faced
    Diego described it as ‘original’
    vibrant – events – realism
    her style would become more primatist
    aesthetic qualities (the two fridas)
    – folk art, realism, symbolism, surrealism
    – subject matter often herself
    – themes: identity, women’s roles, indigenous mexican heritage, beauty conventions, suffering, resilience, union.
    – ideas: independence, isolation, heritage, suffering
    – social conditions: evokes emotional (heart) and physical suffering, an identity crisis in the midst of independence, solidarity with ones self
    – dress, white, expression, background
    thematic influences
    – personal experiences: troubled marriage, painful miscarriages, numerous operations.

    – indigenous mexican culture (bright, symbolism, dramatic, harsh/gory)
    – female themes and figurative
    – european and jewish themes
    – isolation as a result of injury
    – diego rivera
    – folk art
    – communism
    over-arching themes of identity, synonymous with that of her country

    historical/cultural context
    born 6, 1907 in coyoacan
    1/5 daughters
    dad- hungarian jew mum-spanish, mexican,indian
    1910 mexican revolution, she wanted life to begin with modern mexico
    characterised since childhood by a deep sense of independence and rebellion against social/ moral/ ordinary habit
    moved by passion and sensitivity
    physical suffering :
    – polio age 5
    – bus accident age 18
    30 operations painted in bed

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