Art of the Day: “My Birth” (Kahlo)

Frida Kahlo is one of my favourite painters; she imbued her work with a real colour and vivid imagination. Her paintings manage to be both beautiful and ugly at the same time.

Her work always has a lot of personal feeling behind it; the veiled mother has been interpreted as a reference to Kahlo’s own mother, who died during the period in which the painting was created. The birth itself seems to merge these ideas of death with the pain of the miscarriage Kahlo suffered in Detroit around this time.

My reaction to 1932’s My Birth is, on one hand, shock at how graphic it is, a weird mix of the human and the alien. On the other hand, there’s an overwhelming sense of sadness and grief here. Yet also a stark beauty. All of that is down to Kahlo’s superior and sophisticated artistic vision.


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