Formal Analysis Of 'Broken Column' By Frida Kahlo

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This essay examines one of the many self-portrait paintings by Frida Kahlo called ‘broken column’ (1944). In this painting Kahlo portrays herself as a complete full bodied woman while also reflecting her broken insides. She stands alone against a surreal barren fissured landscape that echoes the open wound in her torso. A broken stone column replaces her damaged spine and is protected by a white orthopaedic corset, while sharp nails pierce into her olive naked flesh. Frida is partially nude except for the corset and white bandages. The painting is at eye level so you are face to face with Kahlo’s severe agony and pain. Formal Analysis This painting is oil on canvas, mounted on a wooden board. The dimensions are H: 15 11/16 in. (39.8 cm), W: 12 1/16 in. (30.6 cm). The style of this painting is very unique. Frida laid down each stroke very firmly to build a simple, clear and crisp image. There are no virtuoso flourishes of the brush and the colours are as neatly contained within contours. (Anon., 2011) Kahlo uses a limited palette in this painting. The background is a sandy and rocky brown landscape, the colours are warm yellows, oranges, browns and hints of red spectrums. Kahlo’s skin is dark but with a small trace of pinks, the bandages she wears is pastel pink and white. The warm colours of the skin and terrain are broken up by cooler colours by the white colour of the bandages and corset but also by the cold bluish- purple sky in the landscape. Functional analysis

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