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Art in Spanish: Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

La semana pasada repasamos vocabulario sobre arte en español. Hoy queremos hablar de la artista mexicana Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). Kahlo es famosa por sus autorretratos imaginativos e incatalogables, así como por su activismo feminista y su defensa del comunismo y la revolución mexicana de 1910. Estuvo casada con el muralista mexicano Diego Rivera.

Last week we reviewed Spanish vocabulary on art. Today we want to talk about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). Kahlo is famous for her imaginative and off-beat self-portraits, as well as for her feminist activism and defence of communism and the Mexican Revolution of 1910. She was married to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.

Frida Kahlo in the US-Mexican border

Frida Kahlo in the US-Mexican border

Sus autorretratos van más allá del realismo, aunque ella no quería que se los describiera como surrealistas. Entran en ellos elementos fantásticos, surrealistas, oníricos (de los sueños), todos los cuales nos invitan a interpretar su visión de sí misma.

Her self-portraits go beyond realism, although she refused to call them surrealist. In them we find fantastic, surreal, dreamlike elements, all of which invite us to interpret her vision of herself.

 

Her use of color was groundbreaking.

Her use of color was ground-breaking.

Sus autorretratos se volvieron una parte dominante de su vida durante el período en que estuvo inmóvil durante tres meses después de un accidente. Frida Kahlo decía “Me pinto a mí misma porque a menudo estoy sola y soy el sujeto que mejor conozco”. Su madre le hizo un caballete a medida para que pudiese pintar acostada en la cama, y su padre le prestó su estuche de pinturas al óleo y sus pinceles.

Her self-portraits became a dominant part of her life when she was immobile for three months after her accident. Frida Kahlo once said, “I paint myself because I am often alone and I am the subject I know best”. Her mother had a special easel made for her so she could paint in bed, and her father lent her his box of oil paints and some brushes.

 

Itzcuintli-Dog-With-Me-1938-Private-Collection

A little Mexican dog.

Kahlo se basa en una amplia gama de influencias, incluyendo el surrealismo, antiguas creencias aztecas, folclore popular mexicano, la filosofía oriental y la imaginería médica. Por ejemplo, el formato que utiliza de pinturas al óleo de pequeña escala sobre metal, inspirado en cuadros de devoción religiosa estilísticamente naïve, refleja su herencia católica. Sin embargo, Kahlo subvierte este lenguaje con la elección de temas que rompen tabúes, como la fragilidad del cuerpo, el nacimiento, la vida y la muerte.

Junto a estos retratos pintó varias naturalezas muertas exuberantes y eróticos, así como acuarelas y dibujos menos conocidos, pero igualmente interesantes.

Kahlo draws upon a diverse range of influences, including Surrealism, ancient Aztec belief, popular Mexican folklore, Eastern philosophy and medical imagery. For example, her chosen format of small-scale oil paintings on metal, inspired by stylistically naive devotional paintings, reflects her Catholic heritage. Yet Kahlo subverts this language by creating taboo-breaking subject matter, dealing with the frailty of the body, birth, life and death.

Alongside these celebrated portraits she painted several lush and erotic still-life paintings, as well as lesser known but equally intriguing watercolours and drawings.

 

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About the Author: Paula

Born in Buenos Aires, living in Barcelona, I mostly write about cultural topics in Spanish from Spain and Latin America.