Friday, August 3, 2012

Frida Kahlo's own perceptin of herself

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Frida Kahlos Own Perception of Her Body

In Glovers book I The Philosophy and Psychology of Personal Identity, he states my corpse is not me( 1) to Frida Kahlos paintings Self Portrait with Hair Cut Off, and The Little Deer this quote is most applicable because in more than one way Frida Kahlo felt she was already dead. In Both paintings portrays someone who she feels she is but is not. These paintings depict her longing to be in another body because suffering she endured from the physical pain of the accident and the mental pain she felt from her marriage. First, a brief biography of Frida Kahlo.

Frida Kahlo had a history of dressing rather plain . She did this because she was

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severely teased in her school due to the fact that she had a deformed leg. This deformed

leg was the result of an accident on a bus on September 17, 15.( ) Frida was greatly injured in this accident; she was found to have eleven factures of the right leg and her right foot had been dislocated and crushed and the left shoulder was also dislocated. Her spine and pelvis were also injured. To top off all this her collarbone, two ribs and the pubic bone were all broken. The worst injury of all is an iron rod that had gone through her left hip and came out of her vagina.( ) This injury is what led Frida to feel inadequate as a woman.

All of this pain led Frida to be a very rebellious teenager. While going to school in Mexico City, Frida met Diego Rivera, who she eventually married. After the accident, while bedridden, Frida’s mom gave her the first art set she owned. This art set provided her with hours and hours of entertainment, and put forth her great interest in painting.

Frida painted Self Portrait with Hair Cut off after the discovery of Diegos affair with her own sister Cristina( 4 ). Self Portrait with Hair Cut Off is of Frida sitting in a chair in the center of a room with her hair lying all around her and the scissors that did the act in her hand. She is dressed in an oversized mans suit with scissors in her hand. At the top of this painting there are lyrics to a song that read If I ever loved you it was because of your hair, but now that your bald I do not love you anymore. It is rumored that these words were told to Frida by Diego.( 5 ) This painting portrays that she is uncomfortable in her female skin and needs to express herself the way that she really feels. After reading another biography of Frida Kahlo I have learned and now believe a theory about the specific location of the scissors in this painting. The scissors are in the same location as the surgical pincers in the painting The Two Fridas that were connected to the miniature portrait of Diego. This symbolizes that she has “cut” her ties with Diego.( 6 )

Frida’s spirit was definitely not a match for her body. Frida was always a spontaneous person who had so much ambition, yet she was trapped in a body that was not her own. Frida, who wanted to run free was instead trapped in a body cast, her own prison that was the result of the tragic accident I talked about earlier, but in Self Potrrait With Hair Cut Off Frida finally breaks free from another prison, her female body. This painting Frida really let her emotions run. Out of all the paintings that Kahlo did this one gives the most insight into her personal feelings, and relates the most to the quote from Glover.. Fridas personal feelings of femininity are the most present in this painting.( 7 ) Even though she is wearing a mans suit Frida still has her feminine face, high heels, and earrings, and that oh so melancholic look on her face. Frida, who grew up in Mexico during the 0s and 0s, didnt have much rights as a woman. Frida also had a very controlling husband, Diego. I feel that all this animosity led her to feel in adequate as a woman. Frida and Diego, although married, did not remain faithful to each other. In that era, it was more widely accepted for a man to cheat but not a woman. She is wearing her husbands clothes in this painting is that secretly she wants to be Diego. Diego had everything, he was a successful artist, had money, and also a known Playboy, and could get away with practically everything.. Although Frida was successful while she was still alive she just couldnt feel as important as he was. Although she loved him very much, she wanted his freedoms to have all the public affairs, the marriages, and the respect that he had from his fellow peers. Frida also had a thing for women( 8) this would of probably been more accepted if she was a man. Growing up Frida had a history of dressing up as a man. All sorts of feelings led to this painting, the teasing, the heartbreak, feelings of inadequacy, and just not feeling beautiful.

In The Little Deer there is a body of a deer frolicking through the forest with Frida’s head. And the odd thing about this painting is that the deer has nine arrows stuck in its side. As in Self Portrait With Hair Cut Off , Frida is not in her own body, she is in the body of a male deer which is indicated by the impressive antlers and the male “appendages.” This painting is quite disturbing is set in the forest with water in the background and the buck which has magnificent antlers is being hunted. Even though it is a male deer Frida still has her earrings on. This painting was painted after Frida and Diego remarried.

This painting like the previous one really associate with the quote from Glover. Because of this quite obvious that her corpse is not her own but is instead that of a deer. During this time in Fridas life she was suffering from many back and spinal problems. This painting depicts the pain that she felt from her injuries. Most of the arrows are in her backside, the site of her pain, and of her surgeries in the years following her accident. In the last years of her life Frida had to wear twenty-eight different back braces. The arrows in the deer’s back were shot by Diego. Although Diego loved her dearly, he was never really true to her thus “backstabbing” her. Frida probably felt just like a animal being hunted while around Diego. The Look on Fridas face is one of great sadness Im sure before she painted this she was greatly let down by Diego once again. Frida felt like a “deer prey to suffering.”( ) The trees in the background are all dead and correspond to the number of arrows in the deer’s backside. Frida also wrote the word “carma” which means fate on the bottom of the painting. She did this because like the deer she knows her fate as well which is death.( 10 ) Another factor that contributes to this is what Salomon Grimberg feels that The Little Deer reveals Kahlo’s preoccupation with transformation and reincarnation.( 11 )This verifies that Kahlo believed in the Pre-Hispanic tradition of placing a dry branch on a grave to help the dead reach paradise, with resurrection the dry branch

would be transformed into a green branch.( 1 )

Frida Kahlo although one of the greatest artists of all time, really had some issues. Years of torment, and anguish led Kahlo to really depreciate herself. All her pain and suffering really just made her want to be someone else which was portrayed in these two paintings. But then again we would not have such inspiring paintings if it was not for her pain and heartbreak. Being brought up on her paintings I really appreciate her talent. I am happy she at least got to celebrate her first solo art exhibition in Mexico. Which she couldnt miss despite doctors orders of staying in bed Even though in some ways she actually held true to this showing up to the art exhibition in her bed literally. this just proves that Frida had a very strong spirit and was willing to go on even when her body wasnt.


1) Glover, I The Philosophy and Psychology of Personal Identity.

Penguin USA (Paper); Reissue edition (September 11) pg.8

) Alcantra, Isabel and Egnolff, Sandra. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Prestel Verlag New York. 1 page.16

) Alcantra, Isabel and Egnolff, Sandra. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Prestel Verlag New York. 1 page.17

4) Alcantra, Isabel and Egnolff, Sandra. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Prestel Verlag New York. 1 page.5 side note

5) Alcantra, Isabel and Egnolff, Sandra. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Prestel Verlag New York. 1 page.7

6) Herrera, Hayden. Frida Kahlo The Paintings.

Harper Collins Publishers Inc. 11 page.85- 86

7)Alcantra, Isabel and Egnolff, Sandra. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Prestel Verlag New York. 1 page.7

8)Alcantra, Isabel and Egnolff, Sandra. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Prestel Verlag New York. 1 page. 51

)Herrera, Hayden. Frida Kahlo The Paintings.

Harper Collins Publishers Inc. 11 page. 1

10)Herrera, Hayden. Frida Kahlo The Paintings.

Harper Collins Publishers Inc. 11 page.1

11)Herrera, Hayden. Frida Kahlo The Paintings.

Harper Collins Publishers Inc. 11 page.85- 86

1)Salomon Grimberg. Frida Kahlo , exhibition catalogue,

The Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas 18 page 7-8

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