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Two Fridas

Painting, 1939, 173.5×173 cm

Description of the artwork «Two Fridas»

Classmates and neighbour boys made mockery of Frida Kahlo because of her right leg disfigured due to polio. The girl beat her offenders, put several stockings on her leg, so that nobody noticed the difference between the sick and healthy limbs. In the meantime, she healed her soul by hiding away in her own magical world of fantasy, with her only friend waiting for her – a girl very similar to herself.

Referring to the Two Fridas painting in her diary, Kahlo wrote that she was inspired by the memories of a small imaginary girlfriend. But this diary was often a chronicle of a completely different Frida, beautiful and happy, little like the real one. Later, the artist still admitted that the double portrait was the fruit of her experiences about the crisis of her family, which ended in divorce with Diego Rivera.

The Two Fridas painting depicts two entities of Kahlo: the one loved by Diego (in one of the traditional Mexican costumes that he liked so much), and the one he rejected (dressed up in a Victorian style wedding doll dress). And they are both unhappy, because the love of the first Kahlo has remained in the past, and the second Kahlo is doomed to exist without a heart. Both their lives are in danger, because the scarce vitality, supplied to their common heart by the tiny portrait of the child Diego, flows entirely into nowhere, despite Frida’s attempts to stop the bleeding with a surgical clamp. The analysis of this self-portrait makes it very clear that at that moment, Kahlo had the only close friend, herself.

In 1947, the Two Fridas painting was bought by the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City for 4000 pesos (about $ 1000). This was the largest amount paid for a painting by Frida Kahlo in her lifetime. The Two Fridas is displayed in the Museum of National Art, affiliated to the Institute. The reproduction of the Two Fridas painting can be seen in the Blue House, the residence of the Kahlo (later, Kahlo-Rivera) family, the house in which the artist was born and died, and which opened its doors to the public in 1958, becoming a museum of Frida Kahlo.

Author: Yevheniia Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Symbolism, Surrealism, Primitivism (Naїv art)

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1939

Size: 173.5×173 cm

Artwork in selections: 70 selections