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The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
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In This Section:
Teacher's Guide
Parent's Guide

Teacher's Guide

A Likely and Unlikely Match: Frida and Diego

Suggested Viewing Segments

[0:00:00-0:05:30 (introduction)]
[0:28:00-0:35:00 (early relationship with Diego)]
[0:48:00-0:52:00; 0:57:00-0:59:30; 1:04:50-1:09:50 (later relationship with Diego)]


Objectives

Students will:
  • examine and assess the relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

  • identify how Frida Kahlo incorporates this tumultuous relationship into her artwork

Procedure

Share with students this statement made by Frida to a friend: "I have suffered two serious accidents in my life, one in which a streetcar ran over me ... the other accident is Diego."

Have students reflect on what Frida means when she describes her relationship to Diego Rivera in this way. Have students describe the relationship between these two artists. Students may respond to the following question to guide them.
  • What did Frida and Diego like and dislike about one another?

  • How did they wish the other could be in the relationship?

  • How did they benefit one another (emotionally, economically)?

  • How did they harm each other?

  • Why did they remain together despite their conflicts?

  • Why were they unable to remain separated?
Ask students to describe how the complexities of the couple's relationship played into Frida's art. How was the turmoil and the happiness represented? Students can analyze several paintings, including the ones located at the following links:
Diego in my Thoughts
This page displays the Kahlo painting "Diego in my Thoughts."

Diego and I
This page displays the Kahlo painting "Diego and I."

Frida and Diego Rivera
This page displays the Kahlo painting "Frida and Diego Rivera."

The Two Fridas
This page displays the Kahlo painting "The Two Fridas."

The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Me, and Senor Xolotl
This page displays the Kahlo painting, "The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Me, and Senor Xolotl."
Students may then opt to create a painting that represents their perspective on the relationship between Frida and Diego, or perhaps a relationship that is influential in their lives.

Students can then compare and contrast Diego and Frida's relationship with other famous "artist couples." This quiz introduces some famous artistic couples and is a fun way to jumpstart student research: Artistic Couples. This page gives a 10-question page quizzing users on famous couples in the arts. The first question is about Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.


Online Resources

Frida Kahlo
This San Francisco Examiner Magazine article tells the "love story" of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's marriage.

"Diego and I:" The Fiery Relationships of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
This page provides background on several of Kahlo's most famous pieces, and even includes a poem by the artist.

Marriage to Diego Rivera
This page describes Kahlo and Rivera's first meeting, and their subsequent marriage.

Frida & Diego
This page provides some description of Frida's accident, her painfully expressive art, and her volatile relationship with Diego.

Frida Kahlo's Gallery
This page links to many paintings by Frida Kahlo and photographs of her; titles are in English and Spanish.

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Twentieth-Century Mexican Art
This article, by Carter B. Horsley, gives a brief art history of the two artists and the exhibits at El Museum del Barrio (2002) and the Seattle Art Museum (2003).


Standards

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)

Visual Arts
4: Understands the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
5: Understands the characteristics and merits of one's own artwork and the artwork of others

World History
42: Understands major global trends from 1900 to the end of World War II

Geography
4: Understands the physical and human characteristics of place
6: Understands that culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions

Historical Understanding
2: Understands the historical perspective


Extended Activities

Students can:
  • Assess personal relationships and determine the factors that are at the core of a supportive and constructive relationship, and how that relationship remains strong.

  • List the many types of emotions people experience – love, fear, hate passion – and discuss under what circumstances these tend to surface in their lives. In particular, how do these emotions play out in the various relationships students have?

  • Write an illustrated biography about Diego Rivera.

  • Compare and contrast romantic relationships between other great artists.

About the Author

From classroom instructor to an executive director, Michele Israel has been an educator for nearly 20 years. She has developed and managed innovative educational initiatives, taught in nontraditional settings in the United States and overseas, developed curricula and educational materials, and designed and facilitated professional development for classroom and community educators. Her clients have included Newsweek, PBS, the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health and Education World. She is currently communications manager for planned giving and endowments at the United Jewish Communities.

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Other lessons: Artistic Expression | Culture in Art



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