18 Fascinating Footage From Frida Kahlo’s Clever Life

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This week marks the 113th anniversary of one of the most famous artists in art history – Frida Kahlo. The Mexican painter became known in the mid-20th century for her unique approach to self-portrait, which combined elements of surrealism and naive folk art to create vivid expressions of love, pain, tragedy and passion.

The daughter of a well-known photographer who immigrated to Mexico from Germany, Kahlo’s upbringing in the fine arts had a lifelong impact on how she perceived and portrayed the world. Her childhood was also marked by tragedy when, at the age of 6, she contracted polio, a disease that permanently scarred and in pain for the rest of her life. At the age of 18, Kahlo was impaled by a handrail in a bus accident that killed many passengers. She was bedridden in a hospital in Mexico City for weeks; During this time, she began experimenting to express her agony through painting. With no nature or motifs to paint, she looked internally for inspiration and created some of her first self-portraits during this time.

In the years that followed, Kahlo became a vocal supporter of the Communist Party of Mexico and through her activism had a long and at times tumultuous relationship with the Mexican mural painter Diego Rivera. The couple maintained a studio in Mexico City where Kahlo would develop her own visual language by drawing on the struggles of their lives to create deeply psychological paintings. She had her first solo exhibition in Mexico in 1953, a year before her death at the age of 47.

Today her former studio has been converted into a museum celebrating the artist and her life’s work. These pictures offer a glimpse into this museum and the colorful life of Frida Kahlo.

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