Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who lived a relatively short and painful life. Her legacy has been described as, “A triumph of spirit in the face of adversity.” When she died she left behind around one hundred fifty paintings that helped change the way female artists were perceived by critics and the public at the time. Frida Kahlo mixed the styles of indigenous Mexican art, realism, symbolism and surrealism to create her unique masterpieces. The effects of her turbulent childhood on her artwork, her atypical relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera, and her vivid and often shocking painting style paved the path for her to become one of Mexico’s most famous artists.
On July 6, 1907 Magdalen Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon was born as the third child of Matilde Calderon and Guillermo Kahlo. Guillermo Kahlo was a photographer who had immigrated to Mexico from Germany. Mexico is where he met and married Matilde Calderon. It is noted that when Frida was a young girl she was very close to her father and that they often took walks together in their hometown, Coyoacan (Jones 19). Frida’s love for her family is often depicted in her several family portraits. Frida developed a nurturing characteristic when she was young due to the fact that her father suffered from epilepsy. She educated herself about how to help him regain consciousness whenever he would have a seizure. Despite her innocent childhood Frida was somewhat of a rebellious adolescent. Her devoutly Catholic mother expected her to marry young and create a large family. Frida objected to this and persuaded her parents to allow her to attend the National Preparatory School in Mexico City when she was fifteen.
The National Preparatory School gave Frida the opportunities that she could not have fathomed if she remained at home and followed the lifestyle of her sisters and mother. At school she revealed her eccentric personality. She even became a member of a gang, Las Cachuchas,...