In two paintings by the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, two women can be seen. The two figures are both dressed in traditional Mexican attire and have their arms outstretched to each other. In one painting they embrace while in the other they point fingers at each other. This essay will explore these two paintings through a feminist perspective of two different theories of how women relate with one another: sisterhood vs competition/contradiction.
Frida Kahlo’s “Two Fridas” is a highly life-reflective painting by a Mexican artist. “Two Fridas” was the result of the painter’s anguish and personal tragedy of divorce from Diego Rivera, and it became autobiographical. In 1939, this work was painted in oil and has been regarded as an early example of Mexican surrealism [Davis, p.7].
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The Fridas’ doublets may be seen reflecting each other in the mirror, suggesting that they are wearing different outfits. The Frida in white is dressed in indigenous attire and symbolizes Diego’s love interest. In contrast, the other Frida is clothed in European clothing and represents the woman who emerged after their divorce. Both Fridas have visible hearts and intertwining bloodlines, as can be seen by their position and hands clasped together.
The cutting of the Frida in white’s bloodline and heart with scissors is apparent to the viewer. There is no bloodline cut nor a heart cut on half, as opposed to the Frida in white. As a result, we may conclude that a photograph has two planes: the foreground and the background. The mirror-reflection of the two Fridas forms the foreground of the work. The two Fridas are located against an ominous sky backdrop.
The picture as a whole is dreary and oppressive, which is mostly accomplished by the painting’s primary colors. The following are dirty white, grey, dark blue, and dark green. These are excellent hues that create the image’s atmosphere because they are in command. There isn’t much of a difference in light and shadow, and it appears as if everything has been polished. In general, the color choices match completely to the theme of the painting, with no exception.
The first impression is formed by the picture’s initial grasp. And this emotional turmoil, which is being overcome by the two people who are not just holding hands but also have some physical contact and as a result support one another [Herrera, p.35]. The twin figures on the painting are linked in an interior world that is depicted by the bloodlines’ unity. They share a similar inside feeling, according to the author.
The situation is not only sad; it is also dramatic. The images of both individuals illustrate the phrase “at the moment” of devastation and “after” time. Frida has her feelings about her husband’s dress wounded with blood as she cuts her heart in half with scissors. Diego has truly been more than a real spouse for Frida. This implies that Diego had actually been more than a genuine partner to her. She saw him as a part of her creative essence, the blood transfusion. That is why Frida is being represented with a white cut heart and bloodline. The artist’s “openness” to her wounds harmed not only the artist, but also the audience, signifying the pain of separation.
Furthermore, once wounded, the heart and emotions are not likely to be as open as they were before. The comparison of the “second” Frida is an excellent example of this. In contrast to the Frida in white, her heart and bloodlines were not cut. The second figure of Frida symbolizes human sentiments—once hurt, which enwraps these feelings and makes the organism accustomed to it, resulting in it never reacting to pain in the same way again.
Pain closes your heart, making you seashelllike in your actions. You are unwilling to suffer the same agony for a second time, so you become passionless in everything you do for fear of receiving the same injury again. That is why we may compare the two figures as symbols of polarities. The Frida in white has an emotional side to her connections, whereas the “second” Frida has a critical and analytical mentality.
The painting “The Two Fridas” by Frida Kahlo is a complicated piece that focuses on the Frida’s duality. My first thought about this work of art was univalent. The sensation of dread and agony crawled over my body, muddling my thoughts. I’ve always known that traditional sense of art was blurred, but after researching it, I discovered that it is also a kind of art.
The depiction is gouged with sadness and unavoidable suffering inflicted by separation from the person Frida loved. Despite this, the moment of duality when the two figures’ separate personalities come together held me captivated for a long time. Indeed, it is critical to master self-support and self-reflection in order to survive a trying situation. Even if someone has wronged you, it’s vital that you maintain your distance, stay on track, and be confident and encouraging toward yourself at all times. Everything in this painting is mutually balanced, I’d like to emphasize. Everything from the tiniest details to the color choices are precisely adjusted and fulfill the painting’s concept.
The painting “The Two Fridas,” in which the author participates, is a magnificent example of this. The artist says: “Because my subjects have always been my feelings, states of mind, and the profound reactions that life has been producing in me, I’ve frequently objectified all of this in figures of myself, which were the most genuine and real thing I could do to express what I felt inside and outside myself.” [Callow, p.5]
The following is one of Frida Kahlo’s most reasonable justifications for her artistic work: “I paint self-portraits because I am so frequently alone, because I am the person I know best.” [Gillingham, p.3] “I paint my own reality. The only thing I understand is that I paint because I have to, and that I paint whatever enters my thoughts without any regard for others.” “There appear to be two Frida Kahlos — and not just the two Frida Kahlos in The Two Fridas, the famed 1939 painting on view now at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in “Frida Kahlo.” ‘Extraordinary woman, who transformed her love and suffering into art.’ [p.5]
‘The Two Fridas’ by Frida Kahlo is a depiction of heartbreak, inner human suffering, resistance to colonialism, and emotional trek. This oil on canvas painted in 1939 during Frida Kahlo’s divorce from Diego Rivera depicted her development at that time as well as how she intended to accomplish it. “The Two Fridas” is a universal, eternal reminder of man’s potential due to its emphasis on sadness and perseverance.
The painting depicts two versions of Frida Kahlo, with their hands clutching and their hearts joined together. They are dressed in contrasting clothing: the Frida on the left is wearing modern European attire, while the other to the right is in traditional Mexican garb. We are immediately drawn to the left Frida, who has almost all of the light in the picture shining down upon her.
The garroting scene is intended to be disturbing. The European clothing worn by Frida in this time period feels extremely restricting not only for the subject but also for the viewer, particularly because of the collar that grasps her neck so tightly. Her rigid and delicate posture, as well as her almost lifeless grip on the second Frida’s hand, are understandable given the gaping hole where her heart should be. The bleeding anatomy of her injury seeps into the space, while her face is completely unemotional. A single vein connects left Frida’s wound to right Frida’s heart.
On the right, Frida is shown clutching a pair of delicate scissors in her unclenched hand, suggesting she had ripped out her own heart. It is this link that leads us to the Frida on the left, but not before we notice the background behind them. A gray and hazy backdrop that appears to represent Kahlo’s emotional state at the time, it is difficult to tell apart the genuine Frida from its murky depths.
A dark cloud hangs over her, and the right Frida is dressed in a typical Mexican dress with a posture and facial expression identical to the other Fridas. The most noticeable feature of her, however, is the throbbing heart that the left Frida lacks beating out of her chest. When we see the thing behind right Frida, this macabre image becomes even more remarkable.
Frida Kahlo’s political activism began when she was eighteen years old and was impaled by a handrail during a vehicle collision. She suffered fractures to her spine and pelvis as a result of the accident. After being immobilized for many months, she decided to express her feelings through colorful brushwork. The indigenous cultures of Mexico, as well as European culture, had an impact on her work: realism, symbolism, and surrealism were among them.
Later, Kahlo married another artistic inspiration, Diego Rivera. After numerous affairs, the pair divorced and reconciled shortly afterward. It’s clear that Kahlo created her own visual language in her paintings by representing the heartache she experienced in her marriage, her multi-ethnic background, her severe medical issues, and women’s oppression in an effort to stimulate thought among her audience.
She is now recognized for her harsh self-portraits, which are painted in garish hues and strange settings. One of her most famous works is “Las Dos Fridas,” which means “The Two Fridas.” It was finished in 1939. This Self Portrait depicts two identical Kahlo’s, one in European costume and the other in traditional Mexican clothing. She sits outside with her hands clasped together on a bench under gloomy skies. On the left is European Kahlo, wearing a bloodstained white dress holding a hemostat, which is a surgical instrument for controlling bleeding.
On the right, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is seen holding a portrait of Rivera. She has a shared blood vessel that links her to her other self and runs to her other heart. This is her way of moving on from her turbulent past relationship with Rivera and beginning a fresh chapter in her life.
In this work of art, Kahlo utilizes heavy pathos to allow the audience to experience her agony. The crimson stains on her white gown indicate a chaotic recovery, but the hemostat in her grasp indicates that she has been in command of how she uses her suffering. Even though love loss is difficult, she allows her paintbrush to be a form of release for her sadness. Her heart is exposed in this painting so that people may see that she is experiencing a sensitive time in her life. She connects with herself through a blood vessel and holds hands with both selves.
She attempts to organize her fragmented parts on both a physical and emotional level by uniting them. The visual depiction of this work is realistic in the sense that she pays close attention to detail in her face and clothing, contrasting with the enormous hole in her chest where her heart is clearly visible. Her personas’ duality communicates that her husband’s betrayal bothers her, therefore she maintains a stern demeanor.
This is how she has found a creative outlet for her emotions. Her solemn, yet concentrated appearance runs counter to the gender norms of her time. Women were expected to stay in the background of their husbands, but Kahlo felt that she was entitled to be herself. As a feminist figure, she saw it as critical to be transparent about her feelings. She emotionally appeals to her major audience, particularly other women who are going through divorce or dealing with abusive relationships, and urges them to stand up for themselves.
In 1940, Kahlo painted a self-portrait with a hummingbird pendant for the thorn necklace. She is facing towards the audience in this piece of art. Her pout and assertive eyebrows catch the attention of the viewer as she directs them down to her décolletage, where a thorn necklace is wrapped around her with a hummingbird pendant. In the midst of a dense jungle brimming with diverse creatures, she sits among them.
The jungle is marked by brilliant greens and yellows in the background, but everything in the foreground is duller. A monkey on one shoulder pulls on a thorn necklace, causing her to bleed; meanwhile, a black panther peers over her other shoulder. Two butterfly clips keep her hair in place, which is styled like an infinity sign. Two dragonflies with flowers as heads fly around above her head.
In this work, as in others by the artist, Kahlo submerges herself in nature. Her hummingbird pendant is at odds with its usual meaning; they are generally full of life and freedom. In contrast, this portrait shows a lifeless hummingbird. Also, in Mexican mythology, hummingbirds symbolize good fortune. This goes against the idea that the black panther (black cat) is peering over her shoulder. The monkey is a common figure in Mexican folklore and represents lust. Kahlo played on the significance of monkeys to represent protection in this painting . She once received a monkey from her husband-at-the-time, Rivera.
Perhaps the monkey was an allegory for him because this piece of art was created after her first divorce with Rivera. The monkey is tugging on the thorns, causing her to bleed; in other words, after her divorce with Rivera, she still had scars. This figurative employment of pathos allows the audience to understand that her physical and emotional agony coincided. The spikes around her neck might allude to Jesus Christ’s thorns around his head and the pain he endured while leading up to his crucifixion.
As the eye naturally seeks upward, one may see how her hair is formed in an infinity sign where the butterfly clips rest. Butterflies also commonly represent a new beginning or rebirth, which contrasts the significance of thorns around her décolletage. The dragonflies are positioned above her brown locks. They symbolize a change in self-awareness because both of them have heads of flowers on their dragonfly bodies.
The two butterflies clasped in her hair and the two dragonflies above her head represent fertility. There’s a message to be found in the two butterfly clips hanging from her hair and the two dragonflies flying over her head. The dragonflies are real, but the butterflies are only clippings. This piece has a lot of symbolic contrasts and appeals more to nature than most of her previous works.
Following her divorce, she produced a second self-portrait of herself with her hair chopped off, titled the “Self Portrait with Cropped Hair.” She’s dressed in a suit and is sitting on a bright, yellow chair while holding scissors and her brown locks in her lap. The phrase “Look, if I loved you it was because of your hair,” which was translated from Spanish to English as “Now that you are bald, I do not love you anymore,” is inscribed at the top of the painting.
This painting shows that Kahlo is not reliant on Rivera’s love. Her hair is an example of this, as it is typically a symbol of beauty and youth. It’s apparent that she cuts her own hair off because she holds the shears in her hand. Her hair is strewn across the floor, with some hanging down in her lap. She refuses to comply with rigid gender stereotypes by shaving her head and donning a men’s suit. Because she taunts him with the folk lyrics written on top of the picture, her main audience is Rivera.
Her secondary audience is the general public. The colors in this work are more subdued and masculine. According to Kahlo’s diary, the color yellow represents madness and intrigue. This art is reflective of that, as she has been recognized as a woman even though she appears to be a man. She does not need other people’s love to thrive; she is not subservient to society’s approval, nor does she live for the affection of her husband.
Frida Kahlo’s paintings have been used to communicate her physical and emotional agony. She encourages her audience to reconsider societal norms if they don’t match their own values after appealing to their thoughts. She proudly displays her eyebrows and mustache to illustrate that beauty is subjective based on one’s perspective.
She has established her own style over time, as people have gotten more familiar with her work, and she has strengthened this attitude with time. Kahlo did not allow her ill health to impede her political activism. Despite the fact that she is no longer alive, her paintings continue to pay tribute to her life as a beloved Mexican painter as well as her outspoken opinions against societal norms.
“I paint my own reality,” Frida Kahlo once remarked. “I never paint dreams or nightmares; I paint my own reality,” she added. Kahlo’s paintings reflected her life; traumatic physical and emotional experiences from childhood through early adulthood had a significant impact on them. Apart from these events, Kahlo’s multinational ancestry – German and Mexican – endowed her with a theme for her work. Although Kahlo was not considered to be a Surrealist artist, her work frequently fell into that category.
The truth is that although many of Kahlo’s images are based on her dreams and subconscious, they were not. Kahlo’s work was more about her life than it was about her dreams or the unconscious. Her paintings chronicled her agony and suffering throughout her existence, giving them a strong message.
One such work is “The Two Fridas,” which depicts two self-portraits by Kahlo. This painting, The Two Fridas, is an oil painting that depicts a double self portrait of Kahlo. During the Naïve art period – a time period in art characterized by simplicity in subject and technique – this piece was produced. The artwork is 567 inches wide by 567 inches long. The painting shows two self portraits of Kahlo that are almost identical.
Frida Kahlo, on the other hand, appears in a white European style dress on the right. Frida Kahlo is wearing a traditional Tehuana dress, while Frida Kahlo is dressed in a European style. Both Fridas are sitting on a bench during a stormy day. A single vein connects the two exposed hearts of Fridas with Rivera’s locket to the right. In an attempt to cut her vein, Frida on the left holds scissors; instead blood drips onto her white dress. Her broken heart can be seen.
Diego Rivera was Kahlo’s lover and the two posted one of the most iconic photographs in history, “The Two Fridas,” along with Diego’s wife, Frida. In this picture, on the left, you can see a strand connecting them both. The plaque reads: To love oneself is to be selfless; we must devote ourselves completely to our desires and expectations about perfect fulfillment we develop for ourselves or others who inspire us without expecting anything in return. It is only when we focus on what we think rather than how we feel about it that things get out of hand and begin to spiral away from reality.
The monochrome (black) colors used to depict the painting’s melancholy mood are effective in conveying a specific mood and meaning. The vein connecting the two hearts with the locket and unloved Kahlo attempting to cut it demonstrates Kahlo’s suffering and desire to disconnect from Rivera. Because it depicts that no matter how someone appears on the outside, we will never understand what a person feels emotionally or even physically, the work had a long-term impact on me.