Free Essay: Frida Kahlo's Surrealist Statement on the Broken Column.

Published: 2023-10-09
Free Essay: Frida Kahlo's Surrealist Statement on the Broken Column.
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Inspiration Arts Personality Emotional intelligence
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 966 words
9 min read

Frida Kahlo stated that people thought that she was a Surrealist, yet she was not because she never painted dreams but her reality. According to Udall (7), a surrealist is an artist who is a perpetrator of the state-of-the-art movements in literature and art, which the aim of conveying creative potentials of the unconscious mind. However, Frida argues that she was not painting to express her thoughts or her dreams but to express the real herself. She used the Broken Column painting to express the suffering and anguish she was going through. Thus, this artwork is not surrealist painting, which is depicted using symbols of dreamlike quality; however, it is a real expression of Frida’s real life. Therefore, focusing on the Broken Column, Frida is not a surrealist because it was a painting of her own reality and not an imagination as per the Freudian revolution.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

In the Broken Column painting, Frida expresses her real suffering and anguish most horrifyingly and straightforwardly. Upon the development of most of the artworks, most of the artists ascribing to surrealism with the need to imprint subconsciously borrow Freud’s concepts on the significance of dreams, which he described as the expressions of people’s innermost desires (Yang, 123). However, in the Broken Column is not a surrealist painting because she was not expressing her intimate desires, instead she was portraying her real-life experiences. The nails symbolize how she has been damaged emotionally mostly by her husband. Although she is crying, Frida still seems to be healthy, energetic, and beautiful, denoting that, despite the pains she is having, she is still trying to survive in that mode and has not yet given up as she still holds loincloth to cover herself. In this case, the artwork shows the column being at the edge of collapsing into rubble an illustration that, although she is trying to fix her pains, it is still hard because every move she makes things worse and causing more pain. The column penetrates from loins to chin looking phallic. Besides, the painting also portrays sexual connotation by exposing the beauty of torso and breasts. In the background of the art, she is surrounded by arid, symbolizing her barrenness history with somber expressions. Kahlo has painted her upper part nude, but she later covers her lower section with a white sheet looking like hospital fabric to show that she is almost giving up on the pains she is passing through. Frida Kahlo painted The Broken Column shortly after having a spinal cord surgery (Yang, 127). In the Broken Column, Frida looks sturdy and pretty, but it is the corset that supports her whole body portraying a conception of spiritual triumph. Thus, Frida uses does not use the Freudian revolution in her artwork to convey her self-messages to the audiences.

Considering the historical events which triggered Frida to do the Broken Column artwork, were the pains that she was facing after having a spinal column surgery in 1944 (Udall 11). This surgery was a part of the dozens of the medical treatments she went through during her lifetime. Typically, all these pains and agonies were caused by an accident where she suffered fatally. As a result of this accident, an iron rail pierced through her pelvis, which made the bone to fracture. Besides, her collarbone, her legs, and several ribs got broken. Thus, she was having pains from all the parts of the body as she portrays in the painting. Due to this accident, she spent a month in the hospital and the other two months recovering at home. Even as Kahlo was painting the Broken Column, she was wearing a corset as opposed to the plaster she had previously worn (O’Neil 76). Therefore, she exposed her torso in this painting to uncover her pain to her audience and reveal the cracked column. The accident terminated her aspirations of becoming a doctor and initiated her illness and suffering for the rest of her life. The operation confined her to bed rest and bound in a metallic corset, which was helping in alleviating the constant pain, and intense she was having. She was left in a bedridden situation for three months, where she was not able to walk. Frida portrayed beauty in women and how they would endure pain. In the Broken Column, she originally tinted herself naked except the stripy medical support corset, but she later attached the white sheet. In this painting, there are stout displays of Christianity iconic martyrdom in the portrayal of the white cloth and nails. Thus, Frida did not do the artwork to express her imaginations or dreams, but it was a way of expressing her reality which was triggered by the pains she was going through.

Therefore, the Freudian revolution tries to interpret the Broken Column as if it was a dream or creative desire, yet it was a real-life expression by Frida. Using this revolution, the audience might tend to view Frida as if he was a surrealist, expressing her innermost desires. In the Broken Column painting, Frida expressed her own physical and emotional pains she was going through. O’Neill shows that she was in the struggle with the demands of the culture of her gender during the period when females were fighting for gender equality in society. She shows the graphic depiction of herself going through the tormenting period, which is a stark insight into her struggles against physical adversities and pains.

Works Cited

O’Neill, Desmond. “The Broken Column.” (2011).

Udall, Sharyn R. “Frida Kahlo’s Mexican body: History, identity, and artistic aspiration.” Woman’s Art Journal 24.2 (2003): 10-14.

Yang, Mimi Y. “Pain and Painting: Frida Kahlo’s Visual Autobiography.” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 12.1 (1997): 121-133.

Cite this page

Free Essay: Frida Kahlo's Surrealist Statement on the Broken Column.. (2023, Oct 09). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism