Self-Portrait with the Portrait of Doctor Farill, 1951 Frida Kahlo

Self-Portrait with the Portrait of Doctor Farill 1951 Frida Kahlo

Self-Portrait with the Portrait of Dr. Farill 1951 This painting is a portrait of Frida with her surgeon, Dr. Juan Farill. This was his last signed self-portrait. In 1951, Dr. Farill performed a series of seven operations on Frida’s spine. Frida remained hospitalized in Mexico City for nine months. In November of that year, Frida finally felt well enough to paint. His first painting was this self-portrait dedicated to Dr. Farill. “I was ill for a year…seven operations on my spine” she wrote in her diary and “Dr. Farill saved me.” The fact that she credited Dr. Farill with saving her life might explain why this self-portrait was made as an “ex-voto (altarpiece)”.

In the painting, Dr. Farill appears in the place normally occupied by a saint, and Kahlo appears as the unfortunate victim who has been saved. Frida, confined to a wheelchair, paints with her own blood using her heart as a palette…perhaps it was her way of saying that she painted the portrait from the bottom of her heart. The brushes he holds firmly in his hand look more like bloody surgical instruments. Frida may have gotten the idea for this painting from Goya, who, in his later years, painted an “altarpiece-style” self-portrait titled: “Goya Attended by Doctor Arrieta.” In the box, he included an inscription thanking the doctor for saving his life.

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