It's hard not to admire the scrappy surrealist Frida Kahlo - born on this day in 1907 - who, despite being a woman of her times as well as crippled by both illness and injury, painted with such honesty and verve; because her principal subject matter was often herself, her cult is still thriving today, as witnessed by the extraordinary success of the 2002 film Frida. The film starred Salma Hayek as Kahlo and Alfred Molina as her husband Diego Rivera, with whom she had a famously stormy relationship.
This particular painting Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird depicts its artist as the Aztec Earth Goddess Coatlicue arriving at the opera; it was made in 1940. Kahlo died in July 1954, one week after her 47th birthday. Her ashes remain on display in La Casa Azul (The Blue House) - the home she and Rivera shared in Mexico City's Coyoacán neighbourhood, which since 1958 has served as a museum to her life and work.
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