Even before the life and controversial times of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo were celebrated in the 2002 docudrama Frida, in which a new generation discovered her (through a riveting performance by Salma Hayek), she was already history’s best-known Latin American painter.
Kahlo (1907-1954) was, essentially, a folk artist whose seemingly simplistic brushstrokes all-but-disguised a Surrealist attitude, what some call “magical realism.” In the works of Kahlo, who is probably best known for her iconic, simple self-portraiture (“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best”), can be seen almost linear connections to the surrealism of Dali, and to the work of her mentor (and husband) Diego Rivera.
Frida Kahlo was unorthodox in her private, public and political lives. Which is, of course, another reason why she fascinates the contemporary world. She was also in near-constant pain, and a fascination with death runs through her work.
Google Arts & Culture has created Faces of Frida, a click-by-click tour through more than 800 paintings, photographs and objects designed in collaboration with 33 international museums. A handy “magnifying glass” allows vistors to examine the extensive works in detail.
Click here to enter Frida Land.
One of the participants in the Google project is the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacán, a Mexico City suburb.
Known as the Blue House, the small structure is where Kahlo grew up, where she and Diego lived and created, and where she died. The interior of the home has been maintained virtually intact.
Here, among her own artwork, and the Mexican folk art, ceramics and ephemera collected by Kahlo and her husband, are her personal belongings, from dresses to handbags to jewelry to her prosthetic leg. Her studio and easels are here.
An urn with Kahlo’s painted face, resting on her bed, contains the artist’s ashes.
Take an extended tour of the La Casa Azul, and the wonders within, here.