Frida Kahlo was a painter during the early twentieth century that used a frequent amount of symbolism in her pieces of work. This particular painting was created during the time that Frida and her husband, Diego Rivera, were living in Detroit, Michigan. Many of Frida’s paintings portray numerous symbols that relate to her inability to produce children due to a bus accident that injured her reproductive organs. In the first image, one can see that the painting is a young Frida Kahlo lying in a bed with six images surrounding her and they all connect back to the woman.
This arrangement “closely resembles a Mexican retablo or votive painting” (Esaak). The young woman in the painting is the artist Frida lying in a hospital bed right after her second miscarriage. One can see that the blood on the sheets around Frida’s reproductive area may symbolize the recent miscarriage she has suffered. There is a small tear coming from Frida’s eye that is barely visible; this represents the pain within Frida because she realized she will never be able to carry a child to term.
The single tear seen in the painting coming from someone can also be found in pieces of work with Jesus Christ or a martyred saint (Esaak). The six images surrounding Frida are all connected to her and symbolize infertility in their own way. One of the major images someone will notice first in the painting is “the fetus Dieguito, which means little Diego, who will never exist” (Esaak). The snail in the upper right corner represents the slow and painful process Frida has had to endure through the miscarriages (Esaak).
The medical instrument in the lower left corner implicates the medical procedures and impersonality’s experienced by Frida (Esaak). There are two images that show “a pelvis and the side view of a female anatomy” symbolizes the part of Frida’s body that is broke and will not allow her to carry a child (Esaak). The last image, “the orchid is real, a gift from Diego” that simply illustrates his sympathy (Esaak). The fact that the orchid is wilted could represent the sadness that goes along with the loss of their baby.
All of the images are connected back to Frida by an umbilical cord which symbolizes that all the images are related to Frida through this miscarriage (Esaak). The bed that Frida is laying in belongs to the Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan because that is where Diego and Frida were at during the time of the second miscarriage (Esaak). In the background of the painting the factories of the Ford Company can be seen by a viewer.
This wasn’t meant to display a bad image on the company, it was chosen by Frida because the skies of Detroit were filled with these factories at the time of her miscarriage (Esaak). The absence between Frida and anything else besides the six images can be explained by the distance Frida feels from anyone. She spent the next thirteen days after the miscarriage in Ford Hospital recovering (Esaak). Frida painted a few pieces of work about her infertility because it hurt her so much and she needed to express her feelings.
Anyone can see the pain that is displayed within the painting. Frida knew she probably would not be able to give birth after the bus wreck she was in when she was younger, but she tried anyways. This is one of Frida’s paintings that show the most meaning and pain, and it is easy to see why one would relate this piece of work with symbolism. Work Cited Esaak, Shelley. “Henry Ford Hospital,1932. Art History. about. com. Posted 2007. Accessed Feb. 24 2013. Web..