Frida Kahlo

2 February 2017

Psychological state describes the state of mind that we are under. Psychological state can take many forms such as manic, anxious, and depressive. In saying this, our psychological stater can influence things form day to day life. Throughout history events and objects have been reflective of the human psychological state. One of the most prominent subjects to psychological influence is art. Artist such as frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali and Vincent van gough, to name a few, are just some of the selections from art history that reveal their psychological states through their artworks.

State of mind takes a large part in my art, I think this accounts for most artists throughout history”-Salvador Dali. Frida Kahlo, born July 6, 1907, was a Mexican painter, who achieved great popularity throughout her career. Frida, as well as being influenced by her culture, also had another major influence that sculpted the way her artworks were made, her psychological state. There were many major event sin frida Kahlo’s life that effected her mental state but it all began with “the accident”. At the early age of 18, frida was involved in a bus accident that irreversibly changed her life.

Frida Kahlo Essay Example

After the accident had occurred frida spent all her time painting. After three months of immobilisation frida had begun painting an array of different paintings, none of yet, that were of a psychologically revealing nature. Although this did not mean that this accident hadn’t affected her mental state at all. In the years to come, frida embarked on many artistic projects, a lot of these being portraits. Although only portraits, these portraits strongly revealed her mental state at the time and the pain she had gone through. I paint myself because I am often alone and I am the subject I know best”.

An example of a work that reflects this is Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. Filled with a large pallet of symbols and meanings, this is one of fridas most prominent in revealing her psychological state. This very confronting artwork, as well as showing her pain and love for Mexico also reveals the painful events in her life that influenced her psychological state. This artwork, a swell as the symbols and meanings also has a confronting stance.

Defying the rules of the portrait, instead of having an angled shot of frida, there is a front on shot. This position positions the viewer to feel confronted and shows that she feels that after the accident society sees her as a confronting women. As the accident restricted her from having a child (resulting in many miscarriages) the symbol of a monkey has been incorporated into the painting. The monkey symbolizes her as being infertile and not being able to have a child. This shows her desperate state of mind and that she wanted to have some sort of offspring/child.

As well as this, there is a black cat positioned on her right shoulder. This cat, in this portrait is a symbol of witchcraft and bad luck. This symbol or motif are directly related to her accident. As she was catholic it was shun upon to not have a child. So the sue of this black cat reflects her disappointment in not being able to have a child, but also makes an avid reference to catholic history in the time of witch hunts. But as well as having negative references to her mental state, positives still maintain within the picture.

The crown of thorns shows her feelings towards her catholic heritage and ho strongly she felt about her history. The next major thing to happen in fridas life would be her marriage to Diego and the many mishaps to come. Their marriage on august 21st 1929 not only resulted in the to being in matrimony but also brought up controversy within fridas family. Fridas mother very much disapproved of the marriage stating that it is like “a dove marrying an elephant”. Despite this, frida and Diego believed that they were born for each other .

Upon their marriage, frida painted many paintings that happily reflected her pleased state of mind with the marriage such as “portrait of women in white dress” and many other self portraits that depicted her in a nice elegant way. But despite this positive state of mind that frida was in, the worst was yet to come. Many affairs later, frida had come to realize that their marriage was on the rocks and reflected on what her mother had commented on the elephant marrying the dove. The painting was done in a traditional Mexican ratabla style.

Although this positive image of fridas background and heritage, there are also other symbols and meanings within this picture. Besides the obvious height difference, there are other distinct differences between he two of them. While Diego is painted as he and frida were seen by most people, artists, frida is depicted very differently to how she was. In this picture she is in traditional Mexican clothes, besides the link to her heritage, she is also depicted as somewhat of a housewife, a trait that she very much inverted. Diego is the beginning, the constructor, my baby, boyfriend, painter, my lover, “my husband” my friend, my mother, myself and the universe”.

This quote very much reinforces her state of mind throughout their whole marriage. “my husband”…this shows that frida never really considered Diego as much of a husband because of the affairs that Diego ha had and his backing out of their fidelity. This quote on fridas though of her marriage is very much shown in the artwork “The loving embrace of the universe, the earth, Diego, myself & Senor. Xolotl”.

This artwork, very much depicts fridas state of mind throughout her relationship. It shows the reversal of her love for Diego, but not in the sense of its deterioration but in that it became more of a maternal love. It contains many of her motifs including Mexican vegetation and its roots, lactating Aztec goddesses & the third eye. Again, all of these symbols and motifs revealing her psychological state towards her heritage. It shows that no matter how bad her state of mind got, she always stayed true to her roots. As well as these motifs it also depicts the universe, mother earth, and Diego.

All these depicted with open and loving arms. The fact that Diego is in fridas arms is a symbol of her feelings towards him becoming increasingly maternal. The universe and mother earth, despite their physical attributes, can be depicted as Diego, as the above quote reinforces. It shows her state of mind as not only a maternal lover but also that she is always being protected by Diego. But despite these feelings at the time, there would be dramatic changes concerning her and Diego. The first of these being in their trip to America were Diego was commissioned by nelson Rockefeller.

Whilst over there frida suffered a miscarriage that would severely effect her state of mind. “Henry Ford Hospital Detroit” Painted right after her miscarriage, this artwork, through symbols, meanings and through the structural frame shows a revealing image into her psychology and state of mind. The image shows a bloody maternity bed outside on a bleak industrial landscape showing her homesickness and her desolate feeling to such a fast paced industrial world. As well as these landscapes showing her homesickness, there are other objects that have meaning behind them.

The symbols such as baby Diego tied to her with a red ribbon or bodily tube show how each painful part of her life attached to her, and it all being symbolic of her mental state after such a horrific event. “Never before had a woman put such agonized poetry on canvas as frida did at this time…” This shows the symbolic meaning and how her art was an expression of her psychological state of mind. Diego and frida returned to Mexico in December 1933and moved into a house in san angel designed by artist Juan O’Gorman. This Bauhaus style home joined both frida and Diego by a bridge.

Although this was so, diego fell further into depression and began an affair with one of frida’s sisters Christina. When frida discovered this relationship it was too much for her to handle. In response to the affair she painted “a few small nips” A newspaper report about a woman murdered in an act of jealousy provided Kahlo with the subject matter for this work. The murderer defended his actions before the judge by saying: “But it was just a few small nips! ” . The violent deed makes symbolic reference to Frida’s own mental state and her own emotional injuries. In this picture,.

It can be said that each stab, or nip. is a symbol o everything bad that diego had done to her, and the events in her life. ”they thought I was a surrealist and I wasn’t, I never painted my dreams I painted reality”. This is one of fridas most famous quotes concerining her work. It shows that each artwork is an expression of her state of mind in reality, but not of her dreams, as seen in pictures such as what the water gave me, which involves events of her life and significant aspects of her ebing. Fridas mother was unable to breastfeed her as a child. She was therefore fed by a native Indian wet-nurse whom the family had hired for that sole purpose.

The relationship between them appears distant and cold, reduced to the practical process of feeding. Because it was the adult Frida who had the memory, the baby has an adult head, and because she could not remember her wet nurse’s facial features, she covered her face with a pre-Columbian mask. This shows fridas reversion to her childhood through her frustrated and also curious state of mind. Another artwork that reveals a lot about fridas psychological state of mind is her very famous “self portrait with cropped hair”. This was Frida’s first self-portrait after the divorce from her husband Diego.

In place of the feminine clothes seen in most of her self-portraits, Frida appears dressed in a large dark man’s suit, probably one of Diego’s. She has just cut off her long hair that Diego admired so much. In her left hand she holds a lock of her shorn hair like an emblem of her sacrifice. In her right, she holds the scissors with which she martyred her femininity. Strands of hair are everywhere as if they had a life of their own. Surrounded by the evidence of her act, she sits along in a vast expanse of uninhabited space that suggests the depth of her despair.

The verse of a song painted across the top of the portrait points to the reason behind this act of self-mutilation. “See, if I loved you, it was for your hair, now you’re bald, I don’t love you any more. “. Along wht this painting, two fridas is also an aertowkr which shows her psychological state. It does this trhough echoeing the pose of the self portrait. This is shown the half turned frida and ther scicors, except this time, instead of being used to engage pain, these are sued to stop blood flow and help her survive. ”my painting carries with it the message of pain…painting completed my life…I believe that work is the best thing”.

This quote sums up very nicely how frida felt about her artsworks and its reflection on her state of mind. Theere are many artworks which back up this statement but the most prominent and famous wuld have to be the broken column. Aswell as taking symbols form art history such as st Sebastian arrows and the greek column, it also shows her desolation and pain from her many operations, her marriage with Diego and also her mental state. Each arrow can be said as an act form Diego or bad event in her life. ”I hope that the leaving is joyful and I hope I never return”

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