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Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Portrait of a complex marriage

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Portrait of a complex marriage

Mexican musicians Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera painted one another for 25 years: those ongoing works provide us with an understanding of their relationship, argues Kelly Grovier.

  • By Kelly Grovier

4 2017 december

Observed side-by-side in photographs, they hit a very nearly comic pose: their girth dwarfing her petite framework. If they married, her moms and dads called them ‘the elephant’ and ‘the dove’. He had been the older, celebrated master of frescoes who helped renew an ancient Mayan tradition that is mural and provided a vivid artistic vocals to native Mexican labourers seeking social equality after centuries of colonial oppression. She had been the younger, self-mythologising dreamer, whom magically wove from piercing introspection and chronic physical discomfort paintings of a serious and beauty that is mysterious. Together, these were two of the very most essential music artists associated with the twentieth Century.

She was just 15 and he was 37; the bus accident three years later that shattered her spine, pelvis, collarbone and ribs; her discovery of painting as salvation while she was bedridden and recuperating; their re-acquaintance in 1927 and his early awe at her talent; his affairs and her abortions; their divorce in 1939 and remarriage a year later when it comes to telling the story of the complex relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, historians invariably reach for the same set of biographical soundbites: his early career in Paris in the 1910s as a Cubist and her childhood struggles with polio; their fleeting first acquaintance in 1922 when. Leer más