Frida Kahlo: ‘Diego and I’
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Description:Diego and I was a self portrait painted by Frida Kahlo in 1949. This work was created in Mexico using the media oil on Masonite. It is 29.8cm by 22.4cm and features an abstract portrait of Frida and Diego.
Analysis: The portrait includes a variety of symbols and objects including tears falling down her cheeks, a third on Diegos forehead, Diegos face on the middle of Fridas forehead, hair closing around Fridas neck and her mono-brow. The paint has been well blended and has been applied smoothly, but not to the extent that the portrait looks photographic. Her painting style is naive as she had no formal art education. Although critics have labelled her artwork as surrealistic, Frida counters that she paints her reality. Her artworks were influenced by Diego and her traumatic life experiences. There is a naturalistic colour scheme with green and flesh hues. Splashes of colour such as the deep scarlet of her lips and Diegos shirt have been used to express their relationship.
Interpretation:The tears are an obvious symbol for pain. The red lips and red skirt are also symbolic of pain and passion. We know that Frida loved Diego against all reason and that he was very unfaithful to her. It would seem that Diego has some sort of power over her. This may help to explain the third eye she has placed on Diegos brow. Fridas hair is wrapped around her neck suggesting that he is chocking her, restraining her.
Evaluation:This portrait clearly displays the painful relationship Diego and Frida share. The colours have been selected to evoke meaning; such as the scarlet signifying the passion and pain the two share. The mottled green background is representative of envy Frida feels towards the other women Diego has had affairs with. Frida feels restricted in this relationship and this is seen as her hair, is wrapped around and appears to be suffocating her neck. Diego has been positioned on the centre of Fridas forehead which illustrates the fact that is always on her mind. Frida cannot escape Diego mentally. The third eye of Diegos is reminiscent of a Cyclops and further more supports the idea that Diego holds power over Frida. It is as if he can see everything about her knows her and holds power over her. She sheds tears
at this knowledge and of the painful relationship they share.