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"Tehuana" and "Thinking of Diego"

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The self portrait “” is also known by two other titles,”Tehuana”and "Thinking of Diego". Frida's husband, Diego Rivera, continued to be an incorrigible womanizer, and Frida's desire to possess him expressed itself in this portrait. Diego's miniature portrait on her brow indicates Frida's obsessive love for the fresco painter Diego. Diego is always in her thoughts.  In the portrait, Frida is wearing the traditional Tehuana costume that Diego greatly admired. She painted herself wearing it to draw the attention of Diego and entice him closer. The roots of the leaves which she wears in her hair suggest the pattern of a spider's web in which she seeks to trap Diego like a prey in a spider web. She painted herself with tremendous directness, laying herself wide open. Her self-portraits give an appearance of being absolutely alone. With her carnal lips, surmounted by a slight mustache, and her obsidian-dark eyes slanted upward beneath eyebrows that join like outstretched bird’s wings, Frida Kahlo was bewitching, almost beautiful. Her gaze is often disconcerting. It seeks a response from the viewer. She cries to be seen and known. She was the person she knew best. Her first self portrait in 1926 reveals that, from the beginning, painting the image she saw in the mirror was both a self-exploration and a plea for attention. This double dialogue continues for the next 28 years during which time Kahlo produced some of the most extraordinarily personal and original imagery of the 20th century. The lace ruff appears to close off space and makes her looked trapped. The split between face and clothes underscores psychological dividedness. The portrait of Diego on her forehead uses her eyebrows as a pedestal. She is tethered to the frame by the radiating network of threads. The tendrils that spring from her headdress are like conducting wires carrying her positive and negative energy out into the world. But, once again, these connectors are disconnected: the black threads that are continuations of the veins of leaves adorning her hair are uprooted and dangle in the air. There is no exit from her obsessional thoughts.

In the “portrait of my father”, there is a change in mood noticed as the heavy lidded eyes express a melancholic countenance.

The imposing presence in this portrait reveals, better than is possible in writing, the strong personality of the notary Salvador Dali Cusi, the artist's father. Dali has superbly portrayed that paternal authority against which less than five years later he was destined to revolt, shortly after his meeting with Gala. He recounts that his father always intimidated him more than anyone else. This feeling is clearly shown by the pose of the sitter, the construction of the picture, the lighting, and the neo-realistic technique inspired by Andre Derain. The portrait was painted in the summer of 1925 at Cadaques in fifteen sittings; Dali, who cannot remember exactly how much time he has spent on a picture, claims to have done it very quickly. We may better appreciate his keen sense of observation if we compare the likeness in this portrait with a pencil drawing of the same period, Portrait of the Artist's Father and Sister, and a photograph in which he posed with his father about 1948, twenty-three years later.

The exactness of detail in this painting has the merit of causing memories from the time Dali was painting the work to come back to him. Thus, speaking of the pipe held by his father in his left hand, he remembers that the latter "was always smoking and I myself used to smoke a pipe with wood tar because I thought that I was a detective like Sherlock Holmes, without tobacco. But, if I was only pretending, he was really smoking." The family did not think that his right hand was placed in a suitable position, but he himself considered it perfectly normal for a father to put his hand wherever he wanted it, even if this spot was exactly where his paternal virility was! In 1925 Dali exhibited this picture for the first time, in Barcelona at the Dalmau Gallery. In his Secret Life, speaking of this realistic period influenced by Derain and Vermeer, he wrote: "Paris heard rumors that a new painter had just been discovered in Spain. While passing through Barcelona, Picasso had seen my Girl's Backand had praised it highly. I knew that on the day of my arrival in the capital I would put them all in my bag." Later he used this realistic technique in most of his Surrealist works and he remains faithful to it even today in certain canvases, when this seems necessary to him.

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