For those of you that aren’t familiar with the works of the revolutionary minds of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, they are two of the most influential Mexican artists of more recent times. Both painted stories of their culture and history. Although everyone knew their love was true, it was also one of the more complicated relationships in the art world. A romance freckled with affairs, a divorce, a remarriage and several heartbreaking miscarriages. These two often painted incredibly powerful pieces based around the topics of their country, their travels, and their love.
I have been able to see several of Frida Kahlo’s pieces and she stands as one of my favorite artists. Her paintings speak of her suffering caused by an accident that left her with agonizing pains and called for several surgeries throughout her life. She is best known for painting a series of self portraits, such as the first image which I took a picture of at the MoMA in New York. She has several movingly powerful pieces that tell stories of her identity struggles, personal crippling pains, longing for the past, and even one that depicts one of her miscarriages. A life full of ups and downs has led her to create some of the most personal pieces in the art world.
Diego Rivera is another very famous Mexican artist who was well known for his incredible murals with powerful messages. He too was constantly stuck between the historic aspects of Mexico and the political controversies of the modern world. They both were communists (although they had a few falling outs with the party) and he strongly believed in industrialization. The second image above is one of his charcoals on canvas titled “Huicholes” and was created in 1951. I was able to see it in the LACMA where it hangs next to another Rivera piece which tells the story of his hope in industrialization. I find that to be representational of how he was caught between the two worlds.
Both incredibly influential artists with an intoxicating and passionate love, the story of Frida and Diego is one of many chapters. Their works span across several countries and tell various stories of life, friendship, love, heartbreak, confusion, history and politics. Through their pain and paint they have changed the world.