How did Frida Kahlo's contemporaries see themselves?
The Act of Self-Portraiture
Self-portraiture is an exercise in self-analysis, in which the traits of an artist's personality are consciously and unconsciously revealed. It is also a way for an artist to immortalize themselves.
The Artist as a Creator
Self-portraits emphasize an artist's work, not only by demonstrating their skill, but also by recognizing them as the creator of their own world and transformation.
Artists incorporate elements that define their individuality into their self-portraits.
In the case of Rosa Rolanda, the orchids symbolize femininity because of their resemblance to female genitalia.
In this other self-portrait by Rosa Rolanda, the butterfly represents her voice. Painting is the artist's device for expressing her thoughts and feelings.
The brooch that artist Feliciano Peña is grasping with such tenderness symbolizes his pride in his indigenous roots.
Dr. Atl's self-portrait features volcanoes: his passion and obsession.
The Mexican Fencepost is a type of cactus from the north of Mexico, where Alfonso X. Peña was born. He incorporated the plant into his work to symbolize the fact that, despite having traveled widely, he would never forget where he came from.
Horses were a much-used animal in Olga Costa artworks, and the red shawl is an allusion to Mexico.
Reinterpreting the Self
Through the genre of self-portraiture, artists reinterpret themselves to reveal their deepest desires and anxieties.
María Izquierdo portrayed herself as she was when she was a girl, perhaps remembering one of her fondest memories.
In contrast, the same artist also depicted herself as a grieving Virgin, placing herself in the role of a martyr accepting her fate.
Emilio Baz Viaud painted himself as an adolescent, despite the fact that he was, by then, an older man.
In Manuel González Serrano's self-portrait, you can't help but notice his sorrowful gaze, observing the viewer and almost making you feel that you can penetrate his deepest thoughts.
Si vemos la inscripción podemos percatarnos de que fue un autorretrato hecho en una sola noche.
Manuel González Serrano illustrates his own sadness with the tears flowing from this face.
His tears feed the roots of the plants that are growing inside the head, attracting the beautiful butterflies that flutter around it. The insects symbolize the beauty of the ideas that enter his mind.
Frida Kahlo produced this drawing in the State of Puebla in Mexico. It is one of a small number of Frida's works that are erotic in nature.
Judy, her nurse, looked after her with great tenderness, and the 2 of them even had a love affair. It is for this reason that 3 names are shown in this work, with Judy's appearing between Frida's and Diego's.
Texts and selection of work: Renata Blaisten
Credits: All media
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