Self-Portrait with Monkey (1938) by Frida Kahlo

Self-Portrait with Monkey - Frida Kahlo - 1938

Artwork Information

TitleSelf-Portrait with Monkey
ArtistFrida Kahlo
MediumOil on Masonite
Dimensions40.6 x 30.5 cm
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationAlbright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, US
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About Self-Portrait with Monkey

Self-Portrait with Monkey, painted by the celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in 1938, portrays a young woman reclined in a hospital bed while a light-colored monkey peers over her shoulder. This painting is part of the collection of 55 self portraits that Kahlo had done between 1925 to 1954 and offer symbols for her abundant array of inspirations. In this particular image, there are six animals depicted in the background that were not only used for background purpose but were also symbolic meaning, such as those of pain and suffering.

Ultimately, Self-Portrait with Monkey captures Kahlo’s raw emotions through her usage of vibrant colors while offering viewers many interpretations. For instance, some suggest that it’s a reminder of pre-Hispanic belief because if you look closely at the paintings details it almost resembles an Azteca codex. As Kahlo favored surrealism in many of her works throughout her lifetime, this piece certainly stands as one of the most striking representations within its genre. To follow up on this one, her 1947 painting “Self-Portrait With Loose Hair” further demonstrates significant symbolism behind Kahlo’s artistry at its finest; displaying confidence and liberation within an unstable world.

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