Beyond The Portrait: 10 Facts About Frida Kahlo

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Frida Kahlo, born July 6th, 1907, was a world famous Mexican artist best known for her magnificent self portraits. Beautiful in mind and spirit, she was an outstanding symbol of Feminism and an integral part of the Neomexicanismo Art Movement in Mexico. For more facts about this outstanding historical figure, here are 10 of them you probably didn’t know:

 Fact 1: The famous Mexican artist wanted her birthday to coincide with the date of the Mexican Revolution, which took place three years after her birth. Born on the 6th of July, 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico, she later changed her birth date to July 7, 1910, so that it would coincide perfectly with the birth of modern Mexico.

Fact 2: Frida knew how to hold her own when on a night out with the fellas. She was known to challenge men to tequila drinking, and more often than not, she came out of the night a champion!

Fact 3: Frida was a woman brimming with talent, fire, and spirit. Aside from being a famous feminist icon and renowned artist, she was also adventures when it came to sports and life. She used to do boxing and was part of the gang to which she fell in love with its leader.

Fact 4: She contracted polio at the age of six, resulting in her right leg becoming thinner than her left. She hid the illness by masking her legs with long, colorful skirts. She was famous for wearing long, traditional dresses, often photographed in them.

Fact 5: Frida Kahlo got into the groove of painting after surviving a near-death experience! After a horrific accident that took place when Frida and her best friend Alex were riding a bus and a trolley cart collided with it, the grave injury left her needing 35 operations and unable to give birth to children. It was during her recovery time that she started to create the portraits she would soon be famous all over the globe for.

Fact 6: Throughout her entire career, Frida had masterfully created 143 paintings, 55 of which were self portraits. Dubbed the master of self portraits, Kahlo has been noted to say: ‘I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.’ Her great works of art are interpretations of her physical, as well as physiological wounds. Her most famous masterpiece is entitled ‘Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird’, which depicts just that.

Fact 7: The great artist admired the work of painter Diego Rivera, who was floored by her work and encouraged her to continue. This led to her budding career, and their relationship soon became intimate. They married soon after.

Fact 8: Frida Kahlo was indeed bisexual. Her marriage to Diego Rivera was tumultuous, due to the fact that they both had affairs. Frida had affairs with both men and women, a notable relationships had linked her to the founder of the Red Army, famous Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky, as well as performer Josephine Baker, while her husband even slept with her sister. They divorced in 1939, only to remarry again a year later. Though the marriage was as rocky as the first, she remained his wife until her death.

Fact 9: A central figure in the Neomexicanismo Art Movement in Mexico, her masterpiece “Roots” had set the record for a Latin American piece of art.

Fact 10: Two famous movies have been made in honor of Frida Kahlo, one of which starred Selma Hayek, which grossed over 50 million US dollars, and won two Academy Awards.

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