The Frame by Frida Kahlo

The Frame (1938) by Frida KahloCentre Pompidou

Frida Kahlo bought this reverse glass painting from a market in Oaxaca, Mexico. She then placed a self-portrait, which was painted on a sheet of aluminum, into this reverse-painted glass frame that was originally intended to house a mirror, photograph, or religious image.

The "self-portrait" was the preferred style of this artist. Despite her inspiration coming from her physical suffering or romantic passions, she nonetheless wears the same expression in all her self-portraits: that of a strong woman.

Frida Kahlo typically liked to adorn herself with accessories in her self-portraits, but here she can be seen with a single type of flower and a single ribbon in her hair. It is the reverse glass painting that really frames her face here, hence the title of "The Frame."

Flower arrangements and birds are recurring themes in Mexican folklore. Frida Kahlo uses these a lot in her paintings, but this time she has enhanced the local traditions with her portrait, and not the other way around.

Over time, the varnish has deteriorated and this has uncovered more of the portrait, originally hidden under the floral decoration. A lot of the decoration has disappeared, which has resulted in the opposite effect to that sought by Frida Kahlo.

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