Mexican feminist icon Frida Kahlo’s path to historical prominence wasn’t solely paved with her art.
Sure, Kahlo stands as a pioneering artist and a trailblazer in the realm of artistic expressiveness. But the world is equally as captivated in the harrowing details of her short life as her art, it seems.
From childhood battles with polio, to a tram accident that shattered her pelvis, to the harrowing gangrene that led to a leg amputation, the tragic threads of her life are too difficult for many to ignore.
And, through it all, her two tumultuous marriages to fellow artist Diego Rivera – her husband until she died at the age of 47, in 1954 – seems to draw the most attention and curiosity from fans.
“Though they created some of Mexico’s most fascinating art, it’s the bizarre Beauty-and-the-Beast dynamic that has captivated the world and enshrouded both figures in intrigue,” The New York Times notes in their piece Frida and Diego.
Kahlo even said that the two major accidents that defined her life were 1) the trolley crash that left her pelvis shattered, and 2) her subsequent marriage to Diego Rivera (who, at one point in their marriage, had an affair with her younger sister, Cristina).
“This was a relationship that mirrored the turbulence going on around them — a cycle of infidelity and violent demeanors set against the backdrop of a country reshaping its identity, a World War, and political upheaval,” a recent article in Context – The Story of Frida & Diego: Love, Lust, Comfort and Chaos – explains.
Rivera’s 5 Endearing Qualities
Needless to say, this all leads artist historians and fans of Kahlo’s work to ask: “Why Diego?”
So, while acknowledging the complexity of their relationship, we delve into the question, “Why Diego?” by highlighting five endearing qualities of Diego Rivera:
Despite his many controversies, Rivera played a central role in the development of Mexican national art until his death in Mexico City in 1957. Maybe this is all why Kahlo was in love with him … or not.
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