Frida Kahlo was a female painter who represented Mexican modern art, and her reputation has been growing in recent years. When she was eighteen she was in a traffic accident, and suffered from its aftereffects throughout her life. She fought the pain by painting. She led a problem-filled life as the wife of mural painter Diego Rivera and as his comrade in the revolutionary movement as well.
Kahlo's painting continued the tradition of Mexican folk art and was also deeply rooted in her private experience, which resulted in extremely unique and attractive works. The French surrealist poet, André Breton, admired her as a "born surrealist".
In this work, "Girl with Death Mask", the theme of death from which no one can escape is taken up, and it was painted while she was mourning the death of her own baby by miscarriage."Death" was the most intimate theme for Kahlo, who always lived in close context to it. Mexican traditional idea of death is reflected on each motif in this painting. The death mask worn by the girl is a toy for the "Day of the Dead" and the marigolds in her hand are to be offered at a grave to guide the spirits of the dead. The "Tiger Mask" at her feet was used as a talisman to protect the child against evil.
(Source: Selected Works from the Collection of Nagoya City Art Museum, 1998, P. 61.)


  • Title: Girl with Death Mask [Niña con máscara de calavera]
  • Creator: Frida Kahlo
  • Date Created: 1938
  • Location: Mexico
  • Physical Dimensions: 14.9×11.0 cm
  • Provenance: Purchased in 1996
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Nagoya City Art Museum, © 2018 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust. Av. 5 de Mayo No. 2, Col. Centro, Del Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06000, Mexico, City. Reproducción autorizada por el Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, 2018.
  • Medium: Oil on tin plate

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