Frida Kahlo paints this self-portrait with her husband Diego Rivera more than a year after their marriage.
Despite the continuous infidelities, Frida idolized her husband and admired him as a painter. He was his teacher and mentor, and that is why he represents him so enormously… although in reality, Rivera was enormous. In fact, the proportions of the painting are quite realistic: Rivera’s 136 kg and Frida’s 45 kg… That’s why they were also known as “the elephant and the dove”
Frida considered that Rivera was superior to her, a great artist, and that is why she captures him so monumental, so heavy, with those two feet so firmly on the ground and with the palette and brushes in his hand.
The Khalo on the other hand is fragile, small, with those tiny feet that barely touch the ground. She takes her husband’s hand and makes no allusion to his status as an artist… What artist was she next to him…? She was lucky to be the Lady of Diego Rivera…
Whether or not she is a better painter or a better artist, Frida Kahlo is today an institution in Mexico. With a very personal painting that mixes surrealist, primitivist and expressionist elements and above all with her formed character (Like Dalí, Khalo created the character of Frida, with her traditional Mexican hairstyle and clothing, her indigenous beads, her refusal to pluck eyebrows and moustache…, by the way, all of it advised by Diego…)
Surely Frida Kahlo captured better than anyone the spirit of her violent, surreal and magical country. Surely better than her huge husband. At least, the feminine spirit…
Because being a woman was one of the themes that the painter dealt with the most, both in her work (perhaps you don’t see it as much in this painting) and in her life (Frida was also a polygamist, like Rivera, and also bisexual).
For this reason, it is considered today as a symbol of feminism in the arts.
At the top of the painting, Diego and Frida, an inscription typical of Mexican colonial painting reads:
«Here you see us, Frida Kahlo, together with my beloved husband Diego Rivera, I painted these portraits in the beautiful city of San Francisco, California, for our friend Mr. Albert Bender, and it was in the month of April of the year 1931»