Style Role Model: Frida Kahlo-Inspired Jewelry
Frida Kahlo. Chances are, you’ve heard the name, even if you only know her as the painter with the unibrow. She’s the most famous female Mexican painter. Kahlo painted a lot of bright, colorful self-portraits during her life from 1907 to 1954. Some of them were surreal, and lots of them depict emotional pain or passionate sexuality. She’s become an icon and inspiration for feminists, Latinos, tortured artists, and many others. Read on to learn about her life and see our Frida-inspired jewelry.
Who Was Frida?
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon was born in her parents’ house, La Casa Azul (The Blue House), on July 6, 1907 in Coyoacan, part of Mexico City. Her mother was of Mexican Indian and Spanish descent, and her father was Hungarian-Jewish. She had three sisters.
At age 6, Kahlo caught polio. She couldn’t leave her bed for nine months. The polio permanently damaged her right leg and foot, leaving her with a limp for the rest of her life. To help with her recovery, her father encouraged her to play sports. That was rare for a girl at the time!
In 1922, 15-year-old Kahlo started studying at the acclaimed Preparatoria. She was one of only 35 girls. Frida’s classmates liked for her good-natured attitude. She was known for her colorful and traditional clothing and jewelry. While at school, she also met her future husband, painter Diego Rivera.
Kahlo was in a serious bus accident when she was 18 that left her severely injured. It caused a lifetime of health problems. She spent over a year in bed to recover. During that time, she started to paint. Her paintings echo her struggles. More than half of them were self-portraits. She explained, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
Source: Story Culture
Diego Rivera recognized Kahlo’s talent and helped her develop it. They began a relationship and married when she was 22. He was 20 years older than her. Their marriage was stormy and passionate. They both had fiery tempers and several affairs. The couple divorced and later remarried. During their marriage, they lived apart.
Source: ABC Gallery
Kahlo and Rivera were both active in the Communist Party in Mexico. In early July 1954, Frida made her last public appearance. She took part in a Communist street demonstration.
Kahlo died on July 13, 1954. She was 47. The official cause of death was listed as pulmonary embolism. But some thought that she died from a planned overdose. A few days before she passed, she wrote in her diary, “I hope the exit is joyful – and I hope never to return – Frida.”
Her Artistic Legacy
Frida Kahlo’s art represents the native Mexican tradition, but her appeal extends far beyond Latin America. People love her paintings for their vibrant, intense colors and their “pain and passion.” Feminists celebrate her work for its portrayal of the female form and experience.
Kahlo’s work was often classified as folk art or Naïve art. People call her paintings surrealist, and once a surrealist artist described her as a “ribbon around a bomb.”
Source: The Chronicle Herald
Kahlo’s work depicts both Amerindian cultural tradition and Mexican culture. Her paintings are full of bright colors and dramatic symbolism. The symbolic monkey was often present in her paintings. Monkeys are a symbol of lust in Mexican mythology. Kahlo showed them as soft and protective figures. Her art combined elements of the classic religious Mexican tradition with surrealism.
Taken from her own life experiences, Kahlo’s paintings feature stark depictions of pain. 55 of her 143 paintings are self-portraits that often include symbolic allusions to physical and emotional injuries. “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality,” she maintained.
Inspired by Frida
We are moved by the joy and pain in which Frida lived and painted her greatest works. We offer the jewelry collection, Inspired by Frida, to echo her colorful, sensual femininity. Here are a few pieces from the collection — do you think they capture her spirit?
What do you think of Frida Kahlo? Tell us in the comments!