Freed of blood, plaster corsets, tears, aborted fetuses, Diegos Riveras, nails or communicating veins; Self-portrait with monkeys is a “kind” example within the pictorial production of the communist; painted in 1943, at the age of 36. That same year Frida began teaching painting (she had never studied art) at the La Esmeralda school in Mexico City, finally having to leave official teaching due to her well-known health problems. However, at La Casa Azul, a private home in Coyoacán that she shares with her husband, D.R., the teacher continues teaching at home accompanied by only four students, known from now on by the wonderful nickname of “the Fridos”.
A mature and serene woman appears on the canvas, without jewelry (it seems that she is posing coquettishly for her photographer father), neatly dressed in an indigenous blouse and proudly wearing a swallow in full flight, as Chavela Vargas would describe her everlasting single eyebrow.
Four ojiplático monkeys surround her, two of them showing great affection, as they wrap their tails around her arm and caress her neck and barren breasts with their hairy hands. The Mexican confessed that such creatures represented in her imagination the children she could never have, thus establishing a strong emotional bond with her pupils as a mother educator.
Of the 150 Fridian works, a third are self-portraits, so high is the selfie degree of our artist; small vice with which we can only temporize; in fact, he already declared it in one of his many famous phrases: I paint self-portraits because I spend a lot of time alone. I paint myself because I am the one I know best. And the fact is that I have already said Plato: know yourself,… and you will be the most sought-after Latin American painter in history… for now.