‘The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.’ -Pablo Picasso How can events in the life of an artist influence the work they produce?
Although the ideas that shape an artist’s work come from within, their inspiration comes from the outside world: their own experiences within it and reflections upon it. Pablo Picasso painted Guernica in response to the bombing of a village in northern Spain, perhaps finding some relief in transferring uneasy thoughts sparked by the tragedy onto paper. Art is just as frequently produced in response to personal tragedies and triumphs encountered in life. Frida Kahlo painted herself cracked open, hemorrhaging during a miscarriage, anesthetized on a hospital gurney, and weeping beside her own extracted heart. Painted in a bold, fantastical (some would argue surrealist) way, at first glance Kahlo’s works could easily have come from a dream. However each piece of work is highly autobiographical, and the vibrant way in which Kahlo paints contrasts sharply with the painful personal experiences she choses to depict. ‘I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.’ I have decided to analyse the ways in which Kahlo’s own experiences shaped the creation of two pieces ‘The two Fridas’ (a painting that has been useful in my own project) and ‘the broken column’.
When I first saw the painting ‘The two Fridas’ I was most interested in the two women’s hearts linked by clasped hands and a single artery. In the context of my project I jumped to the conclusion that the two women were twins or sisters, represented by the joining of their flesh and blood. This is an interesting example of how current projects can colour the way in which we interpret artist’s work. I have also always been intrigued by Kahlo’s decision to paint herself with mono-brow and a shadow above her upper lip. It is a bold decision one which to me shows a refusal to conform to what is generally thought to be attractive by the masses....
Bibliography: Devouring Frida Margaret A. Lindauer
Gardner’s Art Throughout the Ages Fred S. Kleiner
Frida Kahlo:The Paintings Hayden Herrera
Art Through Time: A Global View
Surrealism-Thematic Essay- Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Frida (2002) Julie Taymor
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