Self-Portrait (Dedicated to Leon Trotsky) (1937) by Frida Kahlo

Self-Portrait (Dedicated to Leon Trotsky) - Frida Kahlo - 1937

Artwork Information

TitleSelf-Portrait (Dedicated to Leon Trotsky)
ArtistFrida Kahlo
MediumOil on Masonite
Dimensions87 x 70 cm
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationNational Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), Washington, DC, US

About Self-Portrait (Dedicated to Leon Trotsky)

The artwork “Self-Portrait (Dedicated to Leon Trotsky)” is a creation by Frida Kahlo, composed in 1937. This self-portrait is rendered in oil on Masonite, showcasing Kahlo’s association with the Naïve Art movement, particularly Primitivism. The dimensions of the artwork are 87 by 70 cm. A self-portrait in genre, the piece resides in the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, DC, United States.

In the artwork, Frida Kahlo depicts herself standing resolutely against a neutral background flanked by curtains, which gives the portrait a staged and ceremonious atmosphere. She is adorned in attire inspired by the traditional Mexican dress—a long skirt and a shawl (rebozo) draped around her shoulders—highlighting her strong sense of cultural identity and pride. Her gaze is direct and confident, engaging the viewer with her prominent, sharply defined features.

Kahlo holds a bouquet of flowers in her right hand, and in her left, she clutches a letter inscribed with a dedication to Leon Trotsky, pointing towards her political inclinations and personal connections of that period. The artist’s bold unibrow and tightly drawn hair, accented with flowers, enhance her iconic visual persona. Rich colors, textures, and cultural symbolism imbue the portrait with layers of meaning and provide insights into Kahlo’s complex inner world and her artistic exploration of self.

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