The Two Fridas: Analysis of Frida’s Double-Self Portrait

The Two Fridas: Analysis of Frida’s Double-Self Portrait

We have come across numerous renowned paintings in our lives.

Each artwork tells you about its artist’s mindset and the places they’ve been influenced by.

The histories behind those paintings are unique, capturing our minds.

But today I came across an artwork whose saga captured my soul, leaving me with an emotional and aching feeling in my heart.

It not only compelled me to think about how a woman feels in this male-dominated society but also how she feels when she experiences a loss. 

I guess that’s how we should look at Frida’s work.

You must have known about “The Two Fridas” by Frida Kahlo.

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But I can assure you that very few have known the reality behind this painting.

Well, here I’m with another piece of writing about the artwork that made me unravel many truths about society and a woman’s perspective!

Knowing the Art & the Artist

Painting is divided into two parts: art and the artist.

Let’s illuminate the histories of both of them.

Who was Frida Kahlo?

The female painter Frida Kahlo
Image: wikipedia

Before knowing the history of the painting “The Two Fridas,” we need to know about the woman who created this art.

So, who was Frida Kahlo?

I would describe her in three words—bold, feminist, and fearless!

Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) was a Mexican artist and the most famous female painter in art history.

She diverged her style from the common portrayal of women, defining beauty.

Instead, she chose to depict the raw and real experiences of life.

What can be a better subject than her own self?  

Frida chose herself as the subject and started describing the reality of her life, or, should I say, a woman’s life?

At the age of 18, she met with an accident that left her in chronic pain her whole life.

However, she managed to paint and depict the misfortune out of her pain.

The Two Fridas is also one of Frida Kahlo’s paintings that depicts the suffering and pain behind her love life.

Are you ready to hear a not-so-loved story?

History of “The Two Fridas”

Collage of Diego and Frida Kahlo as a couple
Image: artnet,, hearstapps, artlogic

1929 was the year when Frida married Rivera Diego.

He met her in Mexico when she was an art student.

22 years senior to Frida, Diego passionately fell in love with her.

He divorced his wife, Marin, and eventually tied the knot with Frida.

The new couple in the art industry captivated the audience with their obsessive and intense relationship.

But it was not so long before their passion and infatuation turned into jealousy and disloyalty.

Which eventually led to their divorce.

You must be wondering how and why. Keep reading, as the story has just started!

The Divorce

In 1939, Frida Kahlo’s career started to reach new heights, but her personal life was declining at the same time.

She went to New York, where she had her first solo show, which was a commendable success.

Frida spent three months away from Diego and Mexico.

Her career as a painter was finally paying off.

The actor Edward G. Robinson purchased approximately four of her works, which he found intriguing.

Later that year, she had a show in Paris, which also turned out to be a great success.

This led the Louvre Museum to buy one of her paintings.

Andre Breton, the leader of the surrealism movement, defined Frida’s art as “like a ribbon around a bomb.”

She was also featured in Vogue and became a celebrity in Paris.

Frida Kahlo being featured in Vogue
Image: pinimg, Edited by PortraitFlip

Her image was glorified during these three months.

Aren’t some thoughts running through your mind about why I’m telling Frida’s success story to you? How it is connected to her divorce and her painting “The Two Fridas?”

Well, after she returned to Mexico in April 1939, Kahlo became a different person.

She was successful; she made it big without her husband’s aid. 

But while she was away, Diego also enjoyed his independence.

Their relationship started to fall apart.

Jealousy ran all over between them, and rumors about the extramarital affairs of Diego as well as Frida were spreading.

But Diego’s affair with Frida’s beloved sister (Christina) was a step too far, which broke Frida’s heart.

A story that started with passionate love ended with divorce proceedings.

She abandoned Mexican fashion and cut her hair short, which Diego loved.

Therefore, “The Two Fridas” was born.

Frida explained the art as “The Frida Diego Loved, And The One He Didn’t.”

Suggested read: 25 Famous Louvre Paintings

In-Depth Analysis of The Two Fridas

History was intriguing as well as emotional at the same time, right?

Let’s analyze the most famous painting from Mexico, “The Two Fridas,” and learn about the artwork in depth.

Created In1939
GenrePortrait Painting
PeriodSymbolism, Surrealism, and Naïve art
Where is “The Two Fridas” LocatedMuseo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City
Price Purchased for 4,000 pesos, which in today’s time is $20,000.
BuyerThe National Institute of Fine Arts, Mexico City


You heard what Frida thought while painting the art.

Even so, the art is created in such a manner that it opens up more than one meaning to the viewers.

As if Frida Kahlo has left her admirers to have their own interpretation of the painting.

1st interpretation: Now that you know the history, it speaks to the heartbroken feelings of Frida after being betrayed and divorced from Diego.

The painting is a reflection of the two sides she faced before and after the divorce.

We could directly witness the pain and suffering that she was going through.

2nd interpretation: Do you remember I mentioned her accident when she was 18 years old?

Frida met with a bus accident, which caused tremendous injuries to her body.

She was not able to move from her bed for months.

Her family added a mirror to the ceiling of her bed so that she could watch herself and paint.

That’s why her paintings are smaller, except for The Two Fridas.

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It is believed that during that incident, an imaginary friend was born, which we could witness through her painting.

3rd interpretation: Some also believe that the artwork is identical to Frieda and Diego Rivera (1931).

Frieda and Diego Rivera (1931) by Frida Kahlo
Image: sfmoma-media


This was because it depicted them as a couple standing together and holding each other’s hands.

A huge controversy started about why Frida would portray a double portrait in the same pose.

Was she replacing Diego by portraying herself twice? Or is it an indication that her marriage is over?

We all know what happened.

It basically became an emblem of how brave and courageous Frida is.

How about we learn about The Two Fridas analysis a bit more closely?

Suggested read: 10 Controversial Artworks

Subject Overview

The left one describes the new Frida, whereas the right one is her old self, who was in love with Diego.

The Gaze: Two women are seated on a wicker bench, staring directly into the eyes of the viewer.

Eyes of The Two Fridas
Image: fridakahlo

The gaze is almost empty.

As if the feelings, emotions, and love have vanished.

We can witness the stillness in both Fridas eyes and the face, which is painted in the exact same way.

Holding Hands: When you look at their hands, they are held together.

Holding hands of The Two Fridas

The holding hands symbolize that although the hearts are different and broken between the two Fridas, they are supporting each other.

By holding hands together, it represents how she is embracing her feelings.

From my point of view, it also means that Frida holds her past and present together.

Although she is moving with a new vision, her old self is a lesson that she can never let go of.

Hearts and Attire: Also, if you notice, the hearts are exposed and connected in both Fridas with a difference.

Hearts and hand holding Diego portrait of The Two Fridas
Image: fridakahlo

The old Frida has a heart, which shows her love for Rivera Diego.

She is holding a portrait of Diego, which is connected to her heart.

This resembles the affection she had for him.

Even the dress she is wearing is a traditional Tehuana costume, which represents Mexican style.

Diego was fond of Mexican culture and style.

How beautifully she defined her old self in relation to Diego’s lover.

Her heart also appears to be healthier and in good shape.

On the other hand, the left Frida is holding a pair of surgical scissors.

Hearts and hand holding a scissor of The Two Fridas
Image: fridakahlo

This depicts that Diego is no longer a part of her heart or her life.

The dripping blood is the dying attachment that she holds to her husband.

From what I see, I observe a second meaning, unraveling the dripping blood as her pain, damage, and broken heart.

The left Frida attire is a Victorian costume that shows the abandonment of Mexican culture.

Some also believed that the costume was the same that her mother had worn to her wedding.

Even her heart is empty and unfilled with blood.

It depicts the void she has in her life after Diego.

I am blown away by the minute details and meanings it represents.

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Being a Mexican artist, Frida wonderfully explained the art with her emotional touch!

Such bold pieces are meant to be portrayed on your walls, aren’t they?

With our reproduction paintings, you can now own one-of-a-kind.


The painting The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo
Image: fridakahlo

The Two Fridas is an oil painting, which served as a popular medium at her time and was commonly used in Frida’s artwork.  

A balance in art is always maintained with the choice of colors she opts for.

Frida knows how to convey a message to her admirers through her paintings.

She did not utilize bright colors in her painting.

While using colors like red and yellow, she was careful that she didn’t convey a different meaning to the audience.

The emotion and pain in the art don’t vanish.

It is not overly bright or dull to look at.

With a simple setting, the painting illuminates a space where the subject appears to be close.

The sky and the ground shades depict the three-dimensional view.

Being a famous portrait painter, Frida never overlooked herself.

It was said that The Two Fridas was the largest piece of her entire career, measuring 1.74 m x 1.73 m.

Frida was known for votive paintings (retablos in Spanish).

It mostly depicts devotional offerings that originated in Catholic tradition.

Suggested read: The Wounded Deer by Frida Kahlo

Two Sides of One Coin: The Conclusion

A double-self portrait? I don’t think anyone had ever thought of creating such a type of art at that time. 

That’s what makes Spanish artist Frida Kahlo unique in her work, which inspired many and had a huge impact on people.

The Two Fridas is described as a cultural symbol that has been re-encated in the play Las Dos Fridas 1998.

We already know the achievements of Kahlo, but this particular painting was a huge success in her life.

She was honored in many pop art cultures, including film and music.

Her painting shows two sides of herself.

One is betrayed, in pain, and bleeding out of suffering, and the other is strong, rooted in heritage, and in love with Diego.

She was the model of her own paintings.

With the title of portraying famous sad paintings, Frida ultimately depicts herself with multifaceted emotions.

A masterpiece, for sure!

Hi to My Readers

How are my lovely readers?

Did you like my piece of writing about The Two Fridas?

How about sharing your thoughts via comments, where I can acknowledge your views?

I would love to hear about the painting from a different perspective.

Till then, keep reading and exploring!


Q. What is the meaning of The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo?

The meaning behind the painting shows her two identities, where one reflects the Frida that Diego loved and one he didn’t.

Q. What is the theme of The Two Fridas?

The theme of the art signifies the idea of duality with opposite meanings.

Q. Why are The Two Fridas the most famous paintings?

The Two Fridas is one of the most famous paintings because Frida uses herself as a model and a metaphor to explore gender themes.

Q. Why is Frida Kahlo famous?

Frida Kahlo is famous for her unique self-portraits with deeper meanings of pain, boldness, and feminism.

Q. How old was Frida when she married Diego?

Frida was 22 years old when she married Rivera Diego.

Q. How many paintings did Frida Kahlo create?

Frida produced 200 paintings in total, of which she created 143 paintings and 55 self-portraits in her entire career.

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