Frida Kahlo has always been a larger than life figure to me. Always bold, always daring, always a challenging look in those eyes staring into a camera or her own eyes as an artist. There is no subtlety about her. In pictures I’ve seen of her paintings, her clothes, her jewellery, her hairdos, life. So complex, I would think, and so heart-on-her-sleeve. Didn’t care who saw it. But that’s all I knew. Who was Frida, why did she paint some times of her life in such gruesome quality, what was her relationship with Diego like?
‘Seeing’ more of her life up close, first in the movie Frida, and then at Casa Azul, in Mexico City, only prompts more questions than answers.
Frida and Diego both had relationships before they got together. Was it each others’ forceful personalities that drew them together, to spend the better part of their lives together? Most of it tumultuous even after they made their marriage vows?
In her physical suffering, she seems alone, turning the pain and turmoil inwards, only to surface in A Few Small Nips or Flying Bed.
It must have been a strange kind of love. To love, be hurt by straying affections, to be drawn back together, to part ways very seriously in divorce, but to finally spend her last days with Diego. Friendship, passion, love, a sharing of ideals, even envy. It looks like their love had many forms. You can see much of it in the photographs and in the ethos of Casa Azul as you walk around.