February 14, 2007

Kahlo and Religious Icons


Lowe notes that Kahlo often uses the ex-voto, a representation of a supernatural event as a means of giving thanks to God:

The ex-voto mixes fact and fantasy, depicting the image of divine intervention to commemorate the miraculous recovery from a sickness or accident. It pictures two registers of reality: the earthly – an incident recorded with journalistic verity – and the divine, in the form of a patron saint shown floating above the victim. This fusion of the real and imaginary was enormously appealing to Kahlo, and it was this aspect of the ex-voto that she appropriated for her work. (61)

Kahlo also uses retablos of figures such as the Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows). Lowe notes that the Mater Dolorosa was thought, ‘ to guard against sorrow or pain, or at the hour of death’ (61). Lowe goes as far as to say that she thinks that Kahlo, ‘identified with the Mtaer Dolorosa, who is often depicted shedding tears of sorrow for her lost son’ (61)

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