Frida Kahlo is Madonna’s ‘Eternal Muse’

Catherine A. Jones
 | April 26, 2024

When Madonna, the iconic Queen of Pop, embarked on a series of five electrifying concerts in Mexico City, as part of her Celebration Tour, she made an announcement to the crowd. She said Frida Kahlo is her “eternal muse,” and so much more.

Her announcment was not out of the blue. Madonna has spoken publicly of her love for Kahlo for years. Even though the two seem worlds apart, she says they have a lot in common. And their “soulful” connection began far from Kahlo’s Mexico City home. It began in Detroit.

Kahlo is Madonna’s ‘Eternal Muse’

While on stage, Madonna took the opportunity to express her deep admiration for Mexican culture and paid homage to one of its most revered figures: the legendary painter Frida Kahlo.

In a heartfelt moment during her performance of “Burning Up” in Mexico City, Madonna shared her personal connection to the country. 

“As you know, I have a great history, a long history with Mexico,” the star said Saturday night at the Palacio de los Deportes arena before performing her hit “Burning Up.”

But it wasn’t Mexico’s culture or the lively music that captured her heart when she was just a girl, she said. It was Frida Kahlo.

“When I was a child, growing up in the Midwest, I discovered Frida Kahlo,” she told the crowd. “I went to the one museum that existed in Detroit, and there were Diego Rivera murals everywhere, but to be perfectly honest, I was more interested in a small picture in the corner of a beautiful woman with her hair gathered in braids, and a long dress, and the most intense eyes.”

Frida Kahlo’s Detroit

Frida Kahlo briefly resided in Detroit, Madonna’s hometown, alongside her husband, Diego Rivera. Rivera, the most famous Mexican artist at the time, was commissioned by the Detroit Institute of Arts, to create a series of 27 fresco murals depicting the city’s industries during the Great Depression. 

These murals, known as the Detroit Industry Murals, were intended to celebrate the city’s industrial might and its role in shaping the modern world. During their time in the city, Kahlo experienced numerous health problems, which she documented through her art.

“While in Detroit, Kahlo had her own unique experiences. She became pregnant, and then suffered a brutal miscarriage shortly later,” VisitDetroit writes. “Many of Kahlo’s paintings while in Detroit depict difficult imagery of her emotions during this time in her life. Many of Kahlo’s works in Detroit featured images of childbirth, pain, and suicide.”

These are the images Madonna grew up with.

Madonna and Kahlo in Detroit

Growing up in Detroit exposed Madonna to Kahlo’s art. And the young Madonna found solace in Kahlo’s artistry, a connection that would endure throughout her life.

“… I read her story and she gave me hope because, growing up in the Midwest, I did not fit in,” the star explained to her concert goers. “I felt like an outsider. I felt like a freak. And no one understood me. And for the first time I read about someone else who felt the same,” Madonna told the concert goers in Mexico. 

Mexico’s outlet La Razón said that Madonna was “visibly moved” when she spoke of Kahlo.

“ … She is my soulmate, my eternal muse, my mother, my spirit animal. She is everything,” the popstar explained. 

But Madonna’s love for Frida went beyond admiration from afar. During her tour stops in Mexico, she met with the Kahlo family, who invited her to their home in El Pedregal. Kahlo’s relatives said they were surprised when the popstar accepted their invitation. 

‘She Movitivated Me’

“Escorted by her head of personal security, her photographer, Ricardo Gomes, and her assistant, Rita Melssen, the Queen of Pop was received by Mara de Anda Romeo, Frida’s great-grandniece, and her daughter Mara Romeo Kahlo,” the Mexican newspaper Reforma writes.

“I think I know much more about Frida Kahlo than many people who call themselves her fans; I am knowledgeable, she influenced me, she is a true (influencer), she motivated me,” Madonna said at the meeting of just 14 people.

“Was it true that she did not love her sister and that she felt that she had no love from her family, from her father, from her mother?” she asked, according to Reforma, who was the only media outlet invited to the private meeting.

In response to Madonna’s question, Mara responded: “It wasn’t a lack of love, perhaps she felt displaced because her sister Cristina was born a year later and they had to wean her.”

Madonna went on to explain that Kahlo’s painting, “My Birth,” hangs in her London home. Madonna told the family “It’s very brutal, it’s raw, it’s strong, it’s direct.”

When leaving Kahlo’s family, Madonna signed their guest book, saying that Kahlo’s work inspired her. 

“This is a long dedication, it will be worth much more when I die,” Madonna told everyone. According to the family, Madonna ended the dedication with “Frida is my soulmate.”

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