Frida Kahlo's Self Portrait

WHO WAS frida kahlo?

Kahlo suffered numerous hardships in her life, and the most notable was a bus accident in 1925. She started painting after her accident, but she was always interested in art.

historical overview

When Frida Kahlo painted this work, she was just coming off a divorce from Diego Rivera in 1939. Rivera was always a significant figure in Frida Kahlo’s life and her career as an artist.


Kahlo often painted symbolically, with herself as the main protagonist, incorporating religious, political, cultural, gender, and ancestral motifs.


The thorn necklace could allude to the idea of martyrdom, and here Kahlo becomes the martyr wearing it. This also alludes to the religious narrative that relates to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and when He wore the crown of thorns.


Frida Kahlo reportedly painted 55 self-portraits, and interestingly, we will find similar symbols, and Kahlo portraying herself.

subject matter

In the Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo, she is facing us in a full-frontal stance just exposing her upper torso, neck, and head. She is wearing a white blouse and her hair is held up.

use of color

The colors are mainly earthy and neutral hues. The background consists of cool colors, greens, and blues, which are associated with calmness or tranquility.

use of texture

Kahlo conveyed texture in different ways; for example, she utilized smoother brushstrokes for her skin and more varied, shorter brushstrokes to indicate the hair (fur and feathers) for the monkey, cat, and bird.

use of line

There are various types of lines, mostly organic and naturalistic, most notably curved and diagonal lines, which create a rhythm and pattern from their repetition.

use of shape and form

Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird mostly consists of organic shapes and forms, which give the composition a naturalistic appearance.

use of space

There is a shallow space in Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird due to the leaves that create a backdrop effect, seemingly pushing Kahlo’s figure more into the foreground.