The Dream (The Bed), 1940 Frida Kahlo

The Dream (The Bed) 1940 Frida Kahlo

The painting “The Dream”, sometimes also called “The Bed”, was painted by Frida Kahlo in 1940 and depicts the painter’s relationship with death. Frida had a bed in her room like the one depicted in the painting, above which she had placed a skeleton as well as the paper image. There is a photo by Bernard Silberstein (below) that incorporates the canopy bed over the skeleton.

In Mexico, the culture of death is very different from the traditional Italian and, more generally, from Europe. November 2, in fact, is not considered a day of mourning, but a day of celebration. In some parts of Mexico we are organizing real picnics in cemeteries and eating together with relatives of the deceased, and celebrating the day by offering food and wine. A typical sweet are the famous sugar skulls, the sweets, such as Easter eggs, that accompanies the final stage of the room.

To understand this philosophy of death, we must study the concept of life in pre-Columbian culture, which can be summarized by saying that for a part of the Mexican people, death is a rebirth, a new life and should be celebrated as the birth of a human being. Furthermore, it is also a form of thanksgiving for life and a celebration of the life cycle of ‘existence. Therefore, death is a process, a path to something more.

In the Mexican tradition the skeleton is Judas; on Easter Sunday firecrackers are applied to the bones of the paper skeleton and detonated. In this way, traitors are removed, who can find relief only by suicide. Therefore for Frida Kahlo skeleton that represents both death, to be held more to remember her mortality, both Judah.

As part of the dream, Frida Kahlo sleeps and the skeleton is awake, alert. Around there are clouds, sleeping Frida is calm, while in her cultivate plants that represent life. The painting is done with oil paint, which measures 74 cm x 98.50 cm and belongs to a private collection.

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