Dictionary of Art and Artists


that Changed the World


  Lascaux Caves Manesse illuminated Massys Callot Friedrich Picasso
  Tutankhamen's tomb Lorenzetti Grunewald Rembrandt Constable Matisse
  Europa and Minotaur Karlstein Castle Baldung Claude Lorrain Delacroix Marc
  Banquet Tomb Limbourg brothers Altdorfer Velazquez Turner Kandinsky
  Pompeii Van Eyck Cranach Vermeer Ingres Monet
  Birth of Christianity Della Francesca Holbein Rigaud Manet Chirico
  Hagia Sophia Uccello Titian Watteau Burne-Jones Modigliani
  Book of Kells Mantegna Bruegel Canaletto Seurat Chagall
  St Benedict Botticelli Vicentino Boucher Van Gogh Kahlo
  Bayeux Tapestry Anonymous Arcimboldo Fragonard Toulouse-Lautrec Dali
  Donizo manuscript Durer El Greco Gainsborough Munch Ernst
  Liber Scivias Bosch Theodore de Bry John Trumbull Cezanne Hopper
  Carmina Burana Da Vinci Caravaggio David Gauguin Bacon
  Falcon Book Michelangelo Rubens Gros Degas Warhol
  Giotto Raphael Brouwer Goya Klimt  

From Lascaux to Warhol

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth,
passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius,
but never abandoned.

William Butler Yeats




The Fat Frog at Her Side

The destiny of a woman painter



Diego. Beginning
Diego. Builder
Diego, my child
Diego, my bridegroom
Diego. Painter
Diego, my lover
Diego, my husband
Diego, my friend
Diego, my father

Diego, my mother
Diego, my son
Diego. I
Diego. Universe.
Diversity in unity.
Why do I call him my Diego?
He never was, nor will he ever be, mine.
He is his own.
Frida Kahlo, from a diary entry


Frida Kahlo, Frida; The Two Fridas, 1939


The Mexican painter Diego Rivera was working on a mural when a gifted young painter came by to show him some of her work. The twenty-one-year-old Frieda Kahlo (who later changed the spelling of her name to Frida) was of multicultural descent, with a German father and a Mexican mother. She wanted to know what Rivera thought of her work. A friend of Pablo Picasso's, Rivera had lived in Paris (1911—192т) and later returned to Mexico, becoming one the most important artists of the Social Realist movement. He told Kahlo that he found her work to be expressive, sensuous and of a style distinctly her own. Rivera later said that it was immediately obvious to him that this woman was exceptionally talented. He advised her to continue painting and visited her frequently. They fell in love. In 1929 Kahlo married Rivera, who was twenty-one years her senior. The "delicate dove and fat frog" were now a pair although their life together was tempestuous. The first strains of their marriage became apparent during a three-year stay in the United States. Rivera was fascinated by the country and its people but Kahlo soon had enough of the Americans. After their return to Mexico, Rivera engaged in several extramarital affairs. In 1935 he fell in love with Kahlo's sister Cristina, who had been his model for two murals. Deeply hurt, Kahlo left Rivera, revenging herself on him by having affairs of her own with men and women. In 1939 Kahlo and Rivera divorced. However, they were still drawn to each other and remarried a year later in San Francisco.

The way Kahlo remembered her first wedding is captured in Frieda and Diego Rivera. All her paintings similarly reflect the events of her stormy life, which was overshadowed not only by her unhappy marriage. Kahlo was dogged by ill health all her life. In 1913 polio left her with a crippled right foot which later had to be amputated. In 1925 fate struck again when she was riding a bus that collided with a tram and Kahlo sustained serious injuries to her lower abdomen and spine, forcing her to wear a corrective corset. These illnesses and misfortunes wore heavily upon her and she made her own psychological and physical pain the subject of many of her works. Stylistically she was influenced by Mexican folk art, particularly votive paintings. While she was a professor at the La Esmeralda Art School, she talked more about personal feelings than about art with her students. With her health declining rapidly, she wanted to commit suicide — "only Diego keeps me from doing it". Kahlo died a week after her forty-seventh birthday and her last diary entry reads: "I await the end joyfully. And I hope never to return."

see also:
Frida Kahlo "Frida - The Life in Self-Portraits"



Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo, 1932

Frieda Kahlo
Frieda and Diego Rivera


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