Moses, 1945 Frida Kahlo

Moses 1945 Frida Kahlo

His friend José Domingo Lavin lent him Sigmund Freud’s book “Moses and the Monotheistic Religion” and asked him to make a painting with his interpretation. The author was enthusiastic about reading it and in just three months she produced this strange work. Freud’s book reviews the figure of Moses, whom he says was not Jewish but belonged to an Egyptian family and establishes the origin of monotheism also in Egyptian culture (the cult of the god Aten), hence the importance of images of gods Egyptians and figures such as Akkenaton and Nefertiti. However, Frida will soon abandon the book reference to resort to her own personal experiences and complete the picture with them.

The box can be divided into three vertical sections; in the two lateral ones in the upper part the gods are represented; in the center are the great thinkers and leaders of different times; and below, the masses are located;

In the upper part, Aztec gods are represented within a context in which Frida and other intellectuals want to recover pre-Columbian culture as an element of their own entity. Among others: Tlaloc, the god of rain and agriculture, is followed by sculpture Coatlicue Aztec (its name translates as “the skirt of the serpent”) and has a polyvalent symbolism: life, fertility and death; and Quetzalcóatl, god of civilization and knowledge. Next to them a jaguar (the god sepeyollotl) surrounded by blood and flames, and representing war, just above the goddess Tonantzin, mother of the Aztec gods. The rabbit may be a representation of one of the Mexica gods to whom this image is attributed, such as Ometohtli, Tezcatzontécatl or Macuiltochtli. Next, a native god or chief, who recalls the creation of Adam by Michelangelo and below a skeleton symbol of death. Life and death are not excluded within the cycle: birth, growth, death and regeneration closely related to vegetation.

At the intermediate level ten historical figures Freud, Karl Marx, Nefertiti, Stalin, Lenin, Gandhi, Buddha and Genghis Khan. The presence of leaders of Communism is explained by their militancy in that party and their political commitment.

Finally and in the lower part a crowd that represents humanity and the origin of man from ape to man, the presence of monkeys is constant in his painting, in this case it demonstrates his knowledge of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Among the crowd, you can see the Japanese and English flag and an Aztec pyramid next to which a man prays. In larger size, a man is represented working in exaltation of the work of the popular classes.

– At the top, again gods

 You can see among others:

Gods of the Egyptian religion: Anubis (with the head of a jackal) and Sokaris (symbolized by the Osiriac crown) who are gods of death; and Jnum (deity with the head of a ram), creator god of the world and of life. In this way, Frida again establishes a connection between two concepts: that of life and that of death. Isis is also present, whose tears reconstruct the dismembered body of Osiris and from whose union the god of light Horus (with the head of a falcon) is born.

The eye of Horus and the perfect triangle (symbol of divinity) are also represented.

From Greek mythology are present: Zeus, with lightning, Artemis goddess of the hunt with androgynous appearance (with her quiver and arrows) and Venus in her shell treated in a classical way.

Of Christianity. In the center Jesus, with three faces alluding to the Trinity; María with the child in her arms and who has a resemblance to Frida due to the type of single eyebrow, but Frida portrays herself on María with her unmistakable typology with large eyes looking at the child.

The suffering of María, due to the death of her son, finds an analogy in the suffering of Frida for having lost her children in successive abortions.

 This level closes a devil emerging from the flames of hell and again a skeleton in this case of an animal.

On the intermediate level, ten other historical figures: Akhenaten (pharaoh of the religious reform in Egypt, cult of the god Aten), Krishnamurti (with the third eye, a symbol of wisdom), Jesus with the crown of thorns, Hammurabi (first code of laws ), Alexander the Great, Caesar, Mohammed, Luther, Napoleon and Hitler.

And on the third level, humanity again, with the presence of giraffes, monkeys. But there is also a great woman represented by various colors, dressed in leaves and with a child covered with goat skin in her arms, whom she nourishes with her breasts. This figure can be interpreted as a memory of her nana who fed her in the face of her mother’s indifference, but the colors can also represent all races.

From this sun with orange flames radiate rays finished in hands, thus radiating life. This representation is similar to that of the god Aten, whose monotheistic cult was established by the pharaoh Akhenaten and which Freud considers the origin of the Hebrew monotheistic cult.

In the center, a baby is still in the womb. This uterus is surrounded by ovules, an allusion to fertilization and fertilization (mitosis) arising from the great force of love and passion and whose consequence would be the birth, with pain (rain as a symbol of tears.) of a new being (MOSES) placed in a basket as a symbol of the womb, floating on the water

The newborn, which is an allusion to Diego Rivera, bears on his forehead the third eye symbol of wisdom and knowledge, signifying Frida’s gratitude to her teacher and husband with whom she had a somewhat stormy relationship, of moments of love. and separation and something strange alternated his role of his wife or his mother.

On the sides of the basket the branches that sprout from the dry trunks, It is one of the favorite themes in Frida’s works: the birth of a new life through death, as also demonstrated by that union and not separation. between gods of life and death.

The shells under the child Moses are a symbol of love: one of them has a phallic shape and the other with its open valves represents the vagina.

Its meanings: the love between a woman and a man. But they are also a symbol of Frida’s recognized bisexuality, since the shells are above all a symbol of female genitalia.

If the lateral zones are characterized by little light and by the predominance of ocher and brown colors, the central zone is full of luminosity. It highlights the warm color of the sun and its rays, the uterus. The blue sky contributes to the idea of ​​depth, as does the arrangement of the green waters.

During the analysis, different meanings have been established.

In a general way, this work is an outline of the meaning of life and of humanity. The Aztecs understood that good and evil, gods of life and gods of death, …… are grouped as a unit… In the midst of a series of conflicts, life is born and survives no matter how much suffering there is , like Frida’s own.

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