One of the most famous paintings by Frida Kahlo is titled Self-portrait. The painting depicts the Mexican artist in a hospital bed covered with blood. It shows her swollen belly, which remains covered with six thin red filaments. Frida was a victim of a natural abortion in 1932. The painting is said to show the aftermath of the abortion. In this article, we will analyze the asymmetry, symmetrical balance and devotional style of this famous artist.
Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait
A critical analysis of Frida Kahlo’s painting, ‘Frida, 1894’, is essential for understanding her life, career, and beliefs. Frida was an activist who stood up for those who were unheard or oppressed. In this self-portrait painting, she is depicted on a pedestal, covered from waist to toe in a simple pink dress. Her image is surrounded by images that evoke both the Mexican and Aztec cultures. During the painting, Kahlo is seen holding a small Mexican flag, which is symbolically referring to her Mexican birthplace.
The bare body in the painting represents the time after her miscarriage. One section of the painting is blank, indicating that she is still bleeding and unable to give birth. The image is intended to communicate the connection between birth and death, two themes that are related to her experiences. Frida Kahlo was inspired by an Aztec sculpture, called Tiazolteotl, the Goddess of midwives and fertility.
The self-portrait painting’s double image is one of the artist’s most famous works, expressing her inner anguish after her separation from Rivera. In the painting, Frida Kahlo is depicted in contemporary European clothing and in the clothes she wore during her marriage to Rivera. Later on, the artist became interested in native Mexican clothing, and in some of her later works, she depicts herself in indigenous Mexican attire. She holds a necklace in her left hand with a picture of her husband, while the other is holding a pendant with a picture of Rivera.
The painting of Frida Kahlo’s ‘Frida,’ from 1923, engages the viewer. The crown of thorns is worn around her neck, and the thorns are a reference to her Christian martyr identity, which was once suppressed by the Mexican government. Similarly, the dead hummingbird hung from her necklace, a symbol of love. Her necklace also includes a black cat and a monkey, which represent death and tragedy.
Self-portraits by Frida Kahlo are often autobiographical. The deer painting, ‘Frida with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird’, reveals a religious message. In fact, the painting is similar to Andrea Mantegna’s Saint Sebastian, where the figure was tied to a tree and shot by arrows. Kahlo plays with the concept of fate by including the word ‘carma’ in the bottom left corner of her canvas. In this way, Kahlo accepts the pain of life and death.
Her devotional style
One of Frida Kahlo’s most well-known works, My Birth, depicts her grief after a miscarriage. In this painting, she is depicted in a bare body, bleeding after losing her fetus. Six ribbon-like objects flow out of her exposed body, each attached to a symbol. One of the objects represents a fetus, while the others represent five things that she remembers.
The subject matter of Kahlo’s paintings is largely religious, and the artist’s practice of making ex-votos is closely linked to Mexican Christian iconography. These paintings are usually painted on small metal panels that are left in churches or shrines as a token of gratitude. Their subject matter is often religious, and the images of saints and the Virgin are overwhelmingly symbolic. Frida Kahlo also employed childish language in her writing, which is surprisingly childish, even when she wasn’t trying to be.
In keeping with Kahlo’s devotional style, Kahlo often painted herself every day. The woman in her paintings wore the clothing of indigenous Tehuantepec women, but she often darkened her skin in her paintings. Her thick eyebrows and facial hair were also highlighted in the paintings. Her lace resplandors featured floral headdresses and heavy pendant jewelry.
The devotional style of Frida Kahlo’s paintings was influenced by her personal life, as she suffered a miscarriage in Detroit. Her devotional style inspired her to paint a memorial to her father, whom she loved dearly. While she was confined to a wheelchair due to the injury, she managed to paint a number of other pieces in this style.
Paine’s concept of’museumification’ is also visible in the museum’s curation of Kahlo’s ex-votos. Paine focuses on the aesthetics and cultural significance of these items, while ignoring their devotional function. Frida Kahlo’s ex-votos represent the post-revolution Mexico that shaped her life and her work.
Her symmetrical balance
Symmetrical balance in paintings has many benefits, including creating a sense of symmetry, order, and rationality. However, symmetrical balance can also become monotonous if used excessively. This is especially true in Renaissance art, where the primary genres were Religious and History paintings. Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper exhibits symmetrical balance in its composition.
Frida Kahlo uses bright colors to attract the viewer’s eye. Additionally, her use of value changes from light to dark, describing the scene in a way that colors cannot. The hard edges of her paintings add a realistic texture, while the symmetrical balance creates a sense of satisfaction for the viewer. In addition, the symmetrical balance creates a sense of calm in the viewer’s mind.
In contrast, asymmetrical balance is less obvious, but it still has its benefits. In this case, each half of the painting is equal, but they’re positioned in a different way, so that the visual weight of each side is balanced evenly. Moreover, asymmetrical balance in paintings is sometimes less obvious and easier to achieve than symmetrical balance in paintings.
In both paintings, women are the central figures. Frida Kahlo deliberately reduced the size of the woman, and portrayed her from a distance. In the other work, Johannes Vermeer depicted a woman while leaving the details in the background. By doing so, the artist focused attention on the woman’s inner world and created a painting that resembles a Last Judgment.
While most of the artworks in her collection are symmetrical, many of them use elements or principles of design. A rounded arched shape, for example, is repeated in a painting by Frida Kahlo. It also creates a sense of dominance. In addition, contrast also helps to create depth and form, as in the Portrait of Frida Kahlo. The same concept applies to the environment. The environment is not symmetrical, but it does make the subject appear distorted.
As a matter of fact, this symmetrical balance is a common element in many of Kahlo’s works. This is largely due to the repetition of an arching form, which connects the figure to the surrounding environment. Kahlo also uses the placement of a hummingbird, which focuses attention on her facial expression. By doing so, her work conveys a message to her viewer.
Her asymmetrical balance
One of the best ways to appreciate Frida Kahlo’s art is by exploring her asymmetrical balance in paintings. Two of her paintings, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, are a perfect example. Both feature a central figure and a contrasting pair of dark animals on each shoulder. The asymmetrical balance between the two figures reveals the artist’s dual heritage. Her work also depicts her ambivalent attitude toward womanhood and fertility.
Another example of asymmetrical balance is found in The Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh. In this painting, a tree on the left and a group of horses on the right create an overall balance by placing a large amount of subjects on the right side. In addition, a diagonal pattern of waves runs down the right side of the painting. The composition of this painting makes use of asymmetrical balance and creates a contrasting effect by focusing more attention on the asymmetrical side.
Asymmetrical balance is more subjective and less precise than symmetrical balance. It requires more careful planning to create an even balance. The result is less formal and more dynamic than symmetrical balance. In addition, asymmetrical balance in paintings can give the appearance of spontaneity and unpremeditation. While symmetry is a great tool for achieving visual balance, asymmetrical balance often requires more work than symmetrical balance.
Asymmetrical balance in paintings signals the builder or designer where elements should be placed. In contrast, symmetrical balance in Frida Kahlo’s paintings reflects her artistic intention. For example, her asymmetrical self-portrait shows that she was married to Diego Rivera, a famous Mexican muralist, who rejected her. The artist used a vein from a picture of Rivera’s childhood that passes through both hearts and terminates in the unloved Frida’s lap.