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Self-Portrait with Monkey

by Frida Kahlo

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Self-Portrait with Monkey - Description

Self-Portrait with Monkey was painted by Mexican surrealist Frida Kahlo. It was completed in 1940. This piece was painted in oil and rests on Masonite. Kahlo is shone here sitting with her head held high, a monkey positioned on her right shoulder and curled about her. Kahlo, a folk artist celebrated for her surreal tendencies, paints herself as a pillar of strength dominating the center of the canvas. The inclusion of the monkey adds an aesthetic quality to the painting that balances the bright tones of Kahlo’s skin and lush verdant background. The monkey serves as an anchor of color here, complimenting the dark features of Kahlo’s head and heavy brow. Aside from color, the monkey in Self-Portrait with a Monkey acts as a means of balancing Kahlo’s head which otherwise would appear overzealously large in light of its positioning in the foreground. The monkey assumes the small position of the middle ground here, acting as a segue into the vegetation behind the pair. In a broader sense one can say that Kahlo’s head lines up wit the monkey with the intention of luring the viewer’s eye in, acting therefore as a doorway that can take the viewer deeper into the painting than they might originally go should they be aligned differently. For example, if the monkey was perched directly on Kahlo’s shoulder the balance would be thrown off and there would be a profoundly smaller amount of depth one could find in Self-Portrait with Monkey.

Painting Details

Artwork Name: Self-Portrait with Monkey

Original Artist: Frida Kahlo
Subject: Portraits
Style: Surrealism
Medium: 100% Hand-painted on Canvas
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