The Wounded Deer Painting: Explaining Wounds of Frida’s Life

The Wounded Deer Painting: Explaining Wounds of Frida’s Life

“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares; I paint my own reality”

One of the famous quotes by Frida Kahlo.

Every artist presents their thoughts and feelings on canvas in one way or another.

But no one has done it like Frida Kahlo.

I would definitely agree on this, as whenever I came across her painting, a sudden depth of sorrow and pain rushed through my veins.

My mind always gets filled with questions about why, how, and what must have happened.

Have you seen her “The Wounded Deer” art?

The painting is dripping with suffering and discomfort.

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With this thought, I thoroughly researched her little deer art and my friend, there is so much more than just pain.

Get ready to experience the struggle of Frida through her art!

Why did Frida Kahlo Paint Wounded Deer: Life History

Picture of famous painter Frida Kahlo
Image: natgeofe

To understand the painting, you need to think like Frida and know who she really was.

This will help you gain a perspective on what she was going through, along with the depth she wanted to portray.

So, who was Frida Kahlo?

A feminist, a bold image creator, one of the famous portrait painters, and whatnot!

Sadly, she didn’t live for a longer time.

Frida died at the very young age of 47 but she is still recognized as the most popular female painter.

The fame she received in such a short period of time was commendable.

There are various factors that contribute to this famous sad painting.

First, when Frida was young, she was diagnosed with polio.

Second, she met with a bus accident in 1925, which turned her life upside down.

The incident was extremely dreadful; she could’ve even lost her life.

The disease and this misfortune led her to bed rest for months.

Painting was the only therapy that kept her sane during such a time.

Art made her physical as well as psychological suffering a bit easier.

At the age of 21, she married the artist Diego Rivera.

Picture of Frida Kahlo with her husband Diego Rivera
Image: artsatl

Her marriage also influenced many of Frida’s artworks, like the Two Fridas painting, which narrates their not-so-love story.

These are the small incidents that added life to Frida’s The Wounded Deer.

But the depiction of a deer with a face of oneself seems unusual.

Do you know that the little deer painting was a wedding gift?

A Wedding Present

After four months of being bedridden, Frida decided to go to New York for the surgery, which was suggested by her friend Arcady Boytler.

One month before flying, she gifted Arcady and his wife Lina “The Wounded Deer.”

Frida also wrote a small note to them, which was:

“The deer walked alone, very sad and very wounded, until, in Arcady and Lina, he found warmth and a nest.

When the deer returns strong, happy and cured, the wounds he has now will all be erased.

Thank you, children of my heart, Thank you for so much advice. In the forest of the deer, the sky is brightening…”

If you read this, you’ll understand that Frida is referring to herself as a deer.

She is thankful for the recommendation and until she is back, the painting is to remember her.

Do you wonder if this was an art to remember her, then why does it seem so sad? A wedding gift that imparts struggle? Who gives such presents?

Things are getting curious, isn’t it?

Well, I have one thing that will increase your curiosity. How about owning this piece at the most affordable price?

With just one click, you get to showcase Frida’s work in your abode.

What is the Wounded Deer Painting about?

The Wounded Deer painting
Image: fridakahlo
Created in1946
PeriodNaïve art (Primitivism)
MediumOil on Masonite
Housed inIn private collection of Carolyn Farb (Houston, Texas)
Estimated CostNot Disclosed
Dimensions22.4 cm × 30 cm (8.8 in × 12 in)

The painting is open to many interpretations.

Some believe that it portrays Kahlo’s inability to change her own destiny; others say that the art is a wild representation of her frustration during her surgery.

Some interpret, by looking at Frida’s tearful eyes, feelings of hopelessness, and some represent the art as a failed recovery.

Thousands of eyes, thousands of analyses.

The above review is somehow correct, as we all know that before painting The Wounded Deer, Frida was in severe pain.

Naïve art was the period when Kahlo painted the deer painting.

The Wounded Deer was among the top paintings by Frida Kahlo.

It became a brilliant example of the naïve period with its beautiful depiction of bruised deer and trees.

It evokes a feeling of innocence that Frida’s face is holding up.

As soon as you enter the painting, you can sense the suffering of the deer.

This is because Frida creates a space in such a realistic way that the audience couldn’t help but notice the pain the art holds.

The painting illuminates a representational art piece.

Discussion Over Subject (Symbolism & Resemblance)

Here comes the most-awaited section of the blog.

Do you know that many people symbolize the painting as Saint Sebastian ( a Christian figure)?

He was crucified, and arrows were shot into his body.

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The belief is that Kahlo represents herself as a martyr too by the suffering.

But why a deer body and Frida’s face? What does the background explain? Why are so many arrows pierced into a deer’s body?

Let’s hear what the subject depicts.

Frida as Deer

Image: fridakahlo

If you know anything about Frida, then you must be aware that she loved animals.

She had a variety of pets.

Interestingly, the body you see in the painting is after Kahlo’s pet deer named Grazino.

She used deer as a metaphor to describe her agony and pain.

If you observe the front leg of the deer, it is raised from the ground.

This hints at the accident she had, which damaged her right leg.

Moreover, the use of arrows portrays her struggle and wounds, which have punctured her body and made it fragile.

Here, Frida represents the emotional and physical torture because of the uncountable operations she has to undergo.

When you gaze into her eyes, you fall into a space full of shreds.

She established a connection directly between her eyes and her viewer.

I guess now we know how she painted such famous self-portraits.

From my point of view, Kahlo wants to convey the message about how people see her body versus how her body actually is beneath.

Her Carma

Image: shortpixel

Carma with a C?

The word “Carma” appears to be in the lower-left corner of the artwork.

Whether it is carma or karma, the meaning here is the same, which is fate.

Kahlo had accepted her destiny, which is full of struggle and scars.

She refers to herself and is incapable of changing her own fate.

It was as if she was born to fight for her life.

Again, the deer is a big reference who is incapable of reaching the sea with these infinite wounds on its body.

This represents Frida’s thought, where she symbolizes the sea with a little hope that could change her carma.


Image: fridakahlo

In the background, there are old tree trunks, indicating her wounds.

As mentioned above, the sea represents the ray of hope for the deer (Frida), which is impossible to cross with all this pain stabbed inside the body.

The broken branch on the ground stands for the funeral rites in Mexico, where a branch is placed on the grave of the dead person.

This also points towards Kahlo’s belief in her own death.

Theme of The Little Deer Painting

Image: museumstore

The theme revolves around how vulnerable Frida is and the pain she is going through.

We can easily identify the ache in deer and Frida’s eyes, which holds a tremendous amount of misery.

“The Wounded Deer” illuminates sympathy and captures audience attention.

It also creates a space that shows the healing process or hope.

There is hope to cross the sea and have a scarless life for eternity.

A hope to live on with the fact that one day everything will be back to normal.

A hope to heal in a smooth way.

The painting is a reminder that everyone is dealing with their own wounds with a little hope of being okay in the end.

Although the painting seems harsh, I think it’s a beautiful message that Frida wants to convey to her admirers.

No wonder she is counted among the most recognized artists of Mexico.

In Search of Life in Wounds: The Conclusion

Image: artgallery

People always wonder why Frida paints her self-portrait, showing misery.

Have you ever thought about how it would have been if you were Frida Kahlo?

Each second fighting and scraping for a better living.

Knowing the struggle she went through, Kahlo surely did some pretty amazing work.

Bedridden for months, disappointment all over, broken bones and hopelessness.

Her scars were never a reason for her not to be a great artist.

In fact, she turned her injuries into art and presented them in front of the audience.

There are numerous paintings of women but none depicts herself as the primary subject.

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She left her own prints in the art world and became an example of a female artist who paved her own way freely and wildly.

As I said earlier, no one can do it like Frida!

How Are My Readers?

The blog defining anguish, pain, and agony comes to an end.

The painting surely leaves us with a note that no matter how bad the days are, a single hope in life is enough to untangle all the situations.

Each one of us is a warrior, fighting our own battles.

The comment section is open for you all if there are any suggestions or questions regarding this topic.

Enlighten me with your valuable feedback, which I will love to read.

I’ll be back with a new piece of writing soon.

Till then, keep reading!


Q. What is the message behind The Wounded Deer?

The message behind The Wounded Deer is the struggle and suffering of Frida Kahlo.

Q. What is the juxtaposition of The Wounded Deer?

The juxtaposition of the little deer painting relates to Frida’s beliefs and the emotional and physical damage she was experiencing during that time.

Q. What does the deer symbolize in a story?

The deer in the painting symbolizes an object of heroic deeds, the incarnation of a god or goddess, or enchantment.

Q. What type of art is The Little Deer painting?

The Wounded Deer is a Naïve art that is created by a person who lacks the formal education or training that an artist undergoes.

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