Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940

Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940, By Frida Kahlo
Courtesy of www.FridaKahlo.org

Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, was painted by Frida Kahlo in 1940. Although this painting has a small size (about 16x24), it draws lots of interest, since it contains so many aspects which are symbolic to Frida Kahlo. In this portrait, Frida Kahlo faces the viewer with a background of large green leaves and a yellow leaf right behind her. The thorns are around her neck like a necklace which is held by a black monkey. Her neck is bleeding from the piercing thorns. On the right side behind her shoulder is a black cat. A hummingbird is hanging on the thorn which knots around her throat. Her expression is calm and solemn. It also seems she is patiently enduring the pain.

Photo of Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird
Courtesy of www.FridaKahlo.org

Frida Kahlo put so many symbolic creatures in this painting. She was not painting a realistic scene but using these symbolic elements to express her feelings. A bird often symbolizes freedom and life. Especially a hummingbird which is colorful and always hovering above flowers. But in this painting, the hummingbird is black and lifeless. This might be a symbol of Frida herself. Frida spent most of her life in physical pain after the bus accident happened when she was eighteen. After that, she endured about thirty-five operations to fix her body. She spent so many years bedridden and cannot bear any children. This is a painting about her suffering.