Self Portrait as a Tehuana, 1940 Frida Kahlo

Self Portrait as a Tehuana 1940 Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s life was not easy at all. In the first place because of the serious bus accident that she suffered in 1925 and that left her spine seriously damaged, which prevented her from moving naturally and she suffered tremendous pain throughout her life. Something that appears many times in her paintings, such as in her famous The Broken Column.

But to this we must add her obsessive love for another artist, Diego Rivera, the most famous of the Mexican muralists, with whom she was married for several years. And they even got divorced and remarried. Especially for her, since Rivera was a womanizer all her life, who cheated on her countless times, even because of Frida’s younger sister.

However, her sick love for him was a constant, and she even went so far as to say that in her lifetime she had suffered two devastating accidents. The first was the crash of the bus against a tram. And the second meeting Diego Rivera.

That obsession of hers is captured perfectly in this self-portrait, which is also known by the title “Diego in my thoughts”. And of course the representation could not be more graphic, since we see the image of the painter as tattooed on Frida’s forehead.

The truth is that her work, Self Portrait as a Tehuana, was finished in 1943, and by then the relationship was close to ending. It had started in 1929, and although she had always had ups and downs and infidelities, by 1943 these were a constant, but Frida only had it in mind to have it exclusively for herself. However, the relationship was to be cut definitively the following year.

But in addition to telling us about her unhealthy passion for the painter, this painting tells us about another very important aspect of Frida’s life. Her absolute passion for everything that she had to do with Mexican essences.

In this work, Self Portrait as a Tehuana, she appears to us dressed in the costume of a Tehuana, since whenever she could she was dressed in traditional Mexican clothing, wearing ancestral embroidery and ancient designs. But her passion for her origins also led her to collect different objects from pre-Columbian cultures, which she used as amulets, and which often appear in her paintings as symbols.

Instead, in this image all of her becomes a symbol, since her self-portrait in her dress occupies practically the entire canvas. It is a type of representation that reminds us a lot of devotional pictures of virgins. But it is a game of the author, who is rather a martyr who suffers the torment of loving her beloved painter so much. Undoubtedly this work, Self Portrait as a Tehuana, is one of the most recognized paintings by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

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