Comparison and Contrast of Two Paintings 1.
Girl Before a Mirror- Pablo Picasso (1932)2. The Two Fridas- Frida Kahlo (1939) Similarities1. They are both paintings of a woman.2.
They are both oils painted in the 1930s.3. Both paintings contain double images.Differences1.
Subject matter- Kahlo’s is autobiographical vs. Picasso’s beloved Maria Therese.2.Styles-magic realism /surrealism in The Two Fridas vs.
cubism in Girl Before a Mirror.3.Elements of design and composition- realistic images vs. abstracted images.
Essays on Differences1. Subject matter- In The Two Fridas the painting is exactly that: a representation ofFrida Kahlo split in two. It is a double self portrait. In the first representation of herself,Kahlo is wearing native Indian dress.
She is covered in white with blood dripping on her.The other representation of Kahlo is with European attire. A bloodline travels from the first Frida to the second. Because the first Frida has severed the bloodline that is why the blood is spilling down her dress into her lap which signifies her womb.
This is a graphic portrayal of the heartbreak in which Kahlo’s inner suffering is externalized. A turbulent sky consumes the background reinforcing her inner identity and body pining for her soon to be ex husband. (The Two Fridas,1).In Girl Before a Mirror Picasso’s subject matter is of a young woman, his lover MariaTherese, who was the mother of his child Maya.
Through this painting Picasso reconstructs a modern version of the traditional vanity image. He portrays her body as lush and procreative and depicts it looking into a mirror. Painting his lover with a double head, Picasso depicts her as a quasi mythical being with the mirror reflecting an inner image of her and her sexuality; causing the vanity image to demonstrate multilevel poetic allusions. (The Picasso Project,/ girl before a mirror).
2.Style. In The Two Fridas the style is both representational and fantastic. It is also symbolic and iconic.
Kahlo references old Mexico with her version of the traditional sacred altar. The doubling or split self and the oppositional coupling of an inner and outer reality being played out through the body suggests a Surreal vision. Kahlo herself said that she enjoyed going beyond realism by painting surprises and the unexpected. Yet she also said that she painted her own reality.
Still- a debate continues over whether the style of this painting is actually Surrealist with a European connection for the Mexican Kahlo- or a type of magic realism that fits into a Latin American vision. When she created that painting, Kahlo was on an emotional roller coaster. She had just returned from Europe where her work had met with much acclaim and where she had even met Picasso. But upon her return her husband Diego had asked for a divorce which devastated her and making this style mirror her own painful reality.
(The Two Fridas, 1).The style in Girl Before a Mirror is cubism. In this painting Picasso revamps reality by creating stylized and circular objects that are presented in body parts and the background wallpaper. He depicts the front image of the girl’s face as a sun; the cool profile of the moon crescent reflecting the sun in the mirror.
Both renderings point to a sort of astral innocence and also a full bloomed sexuality. In the manner of cubism several perspectives are portrayed: side and front images of the face and breasts that can also serve as testicles-marking a reference to phallic symbols. (The Picasso Project /girl before a mirror). 3.
Design and composition. The Two Fridas is a realistic image of two women who are sitting side by side. They are the same woman depicted in different clothing. There is equilibrium in the parallelism.
Painted in the 1930s the clothing nevertheless depicts attire of an earlier time. The whites and blues and blacks and reds are somewhat heavy colors. This suggests that there is some sort of turmoil contained within the painting. There is also a suggestion through the parallel cultures portrayed side by side that there may be a pull in two directions.
(The Two Fridas,1).The design and composition in Girl Before a Mirror is an abstracted figure of a double headed girl who is looking into a mirror. Though there is a double image- the colors are different in the girl and in the mirror. The first image is hot primary colors.
Hot reds and yellows and greens surrounded by a halo of white; while the second mirror image uses cooler colors including a lot of blues and lavenders. Heavy black impasto lines are created throughout the painting providing emphasis. The circular shapes provide a leitmotif of communication. The hues of the wallpaper change from point to point.
They serve as a foil for shifting formal and poetic contexts of the outer girl and her inner imagery suggested by the mirror. (The Picasso Project/girl before a mirror). References“Girl Before a Mirror.” (2006).
The Picasso Project. Internet. Accessed 23 Oct 2006.www.
http://Picasso.tamu.edu>“The Two Fridas.”(2006).
Csulb.edu. Internet. Accessed 23 Oct.