The Two Fridas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Two Fridas
Spanish: Las dos Fridas
The Two Fridas.jpg
ArtistFrida Kahlo
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions173.5 cm × 173 cm (68.3 in × 68 in)
LocationMuseo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

The Two Fridas (Las dos Fridas in Spanish) is an oil painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The painting was the first large-scale work done by Kahlo and is considered one of her most notable paintings.[1] It is a double self-portrait, depicting two versions of Kahlo seated together. One is wearing a white European-style Victorian dress while the other is wearing a traditional Tehuana dress.[1] Kahlo painted The Two Fridas in 1939, the same year she divorced artist Diego Rivera,[1] although they remarried a year later.

Some art historians have suggested that the two figures in the painting are a representation of Frida's dual heritage.[2] Her father, Guillermo Kahlo, was German; while her mother, Matilde Calderon, was Mestizo (a mix of Spanish and Native American).[3] Another interpretation is that the Tehuana Frida is the one who was adored by her husband Diego Rivera, while the European Frida is the one that was rejected by him.[4] In Frida's own recollection, the image is of a memory of a childhood imaginary friend.[5]

Both Fridas hold items in their lap; the Mexican Frida holds a small portrait of Diego Rivera, and the European Frida holds forceps. Blood spills onto the European Frida's white dress from a broken blood vessel that has been cut by the forceps. The blood vessel connects the two Fridas, winding its way from their hands through their hearts.[6] The work alludes to Kahlo's life of constant pain and surgical procedures and the Aztec tradition of human sacrifice.[6] Because this piece was completed by Kahlo shortly after her divorce, the European Frida is missing a piece of herself, her Diego.[4]

According to Kahlo's friend, Fernando Gamboa, the painting was inspired by two paintings that Kahlo saw earlier that year at the Louvre: Théodore Chassériau's The Two Sisters and the anonymous Gabrielle d'Estrées and One of Her Sisters.[7]

The Two Fridas is housed at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Lindauer, Margaret A. (1999). Devouring Frida: The Art History and Popular Celebrity of Frida Kahlo. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press. pp. 144–149. ISBN 0819563471.
  2. ^ Anderson, Corrine (2009). "Remembrance of an Open Wound: Frida Kahlo and Post-revolutionary Mexican Identity". South Atlantic Review. 74 (4): 119–130. Archived from the original on 2015-03-29.
  3. ^ Barnet-Sanchez, Holly (1997). "Review: Frida Kahlo: Her Life and Art Revisited". Latin American Research Review. 32 (3): 243–257. JSTOR 2504009.
  4. ^ a b Kettenmann, Andrea (1992). Kahlo. Slovakia: Taschen. p. 54. ISBN 978-3-8365-0085-2.
  5. ^ Herrera, Hayden (1991). Frida Kahlo: The Paintings. Hong Kong: HarperCollins. p. 135. ISBN 0-06-016699-1.
  6. ^ a b Stokstad, Marilyn; Cothren, Michael Watt (2011-01-01). Art history. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. p. 1070. ISBN 9780205744220.
  7. ^ Grimberg, Salomon (2006). I Will Never Forget You: Frida Kahlo & Nickolas Muray. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. pp. 32, 42. ISBN 0811856925.
  8. ^ Kettenmann, Andrea (2003). Frida Kahlo, 1907-1954: Pain and Passion. Cologne: Taschen. p. 95. ISBN 3822859834.