Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderon aka Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyocoan, Mexico during a time of conflict due to Porfirio Diaz's dictatorship. When she was just three years old, the Mexican Revolution began. Frida became very political as a teenager, having witnessed a lot of violent armed struggles on the streets of Mexico City because of the Revolution.
|The Broken Column, 1944|
The event that marked Frida's life was the accident she suffered when she was 18 years old. On September 17, 1925, a bus that Frida was riding hit a trolley car. This accident caused very serious injuries for her that would affect her for the rest of her life, including a broken spinal column (a painting depicting the pain and injury can be seen to the right), broken ribs, pelvis and collarbone, as well as eleven fractures on her right leg, a dislocated foot and shoulder. It took Frida three months to recover in a full body cast, but she would continue to have bouts of extreme pain, which would leave her bedridden at times, for the rest of her life.
It was during this time that Frida began painting (having nothing else to do). Mainly, Frida painted herself and out of 140 paintings, 55 are self portraits. Frida famously said of her many self portraits, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best." Although, there was a lot of magical realism and surrealism in her works, she was also quoted as saying, "I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality." According to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, her engagement with self portraiture helped her to "reinvent herself."
In Frida's works, there is usually a sense of autobiography. She tells her own story as she sees and feels it. While telling her own story, she is making a statement and telling the story of woman. In her painting, A Few Small Nips seen below, Frida has discovered her husband's (Diego Rivera) affair with her younger sister Cristina. Her pain at being betrayed by the two people she loved and trusted most is represented in the woman lying on the bed bleeding out after being stabbed by her husband while he excuses himself by saying, it was only "unos cuantos piqutitos."
|A Few Small Nips, 1935|