Analyzing How Self Is Presented In Judith Leyster’s Painting Self Portrait And Frida Kahlo’s The Two Fridas

Categories: Frida Kahlo

Presentation of Self/Female Self-Portraiture

I have chosen the theme "Presentation of Self/Female Self-Portraiture"(Which I'll call the "Selfie" theme), and will do my best to evaluate two relevant artworks in the forthcoming essay. To be precise, I will be honing in on two portraits of what we might relate to as "Selfies" in today's society. To begin, I have chosen a painting by Judith Leyster that is titled Self Portrait. Judith literally painted a portrait of herself painting in 1630.

To further my evaluation of self-portraiture, I have also chosen a portrait by Frida Kahlo called The Two Fridas painted in 1939 where Frida painted two separate images of herself holding hand, but in different attire. My goal is to portray how these two paintings compare to the "Selfie" theme even though they were created 3 centuries apart from two artist from very different cultural backgrounds. I will also compare both works to the "Selfie" phenomenon that has riddled today's social media.

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Judith Leyster's, oil painting Self Portrait, depicts Judith Leyster herself in the middle of painting another famous painting of hers called Merry Company according to National Gallery of Art. In the foreground, the painting shows Judith Leyster casually looking back at the viewer with a confident look. The background of the painting shows the unfinished Merry Company. it more of a darker tone to put more focus on Judith Leyster to show her personality and wit as an artist. Frida Kahlo's painting, The Two Fridas, also express her personality like Judith Leyster.

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Painted with oil on a canvas, Frida shows both sides of herself. On the left, she is show in a white, European style dress. The Frida on the right is in a more traditional Mexican dress. Both Fridas have their heart displayed on their chest. The Frida's heart on the right is open while the one on the left is closed. One heart is connected to a picture of her ex-husband to show that her heart is still connected to him according to Khan Academy. The other Frida shows the artery that should have been connected to the picture has been clipped and is bleeding out onto her white dress.

According to the National Gallery of Art, Judith Leyster's Self Portrait was created during the Dutch Baroque period in 1630. The portrait was a self-promotion of her showing her product and skill. Judith Leyster's Self Portrait is now located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Frida Kahlo was a similar strong female artist. Frida Kahlo's, The Two Fridas created in 1939, was painted after she divorced her husband Diego Rivera according to Khana Academy. It is also said that both Frida's represent her parents and her parents' background. The Two Fridas can now be viewed in the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, Mexico.

Although centuries apart, Judith Leyster and Frida Kahlo are very similar in their need for self-preservation. They're both strong females trying to either advertise themselves like Judith Leyster or preserving an emotional moment in time like Frida Kahlo. Both women use their self-portraits to preserve their strong female selves.

Judith Leyster and Frida Kahlo's paintings compare to today in Postmodernism because it is human nature to preserve oneself whether it's a moment in time or the need to preserve a milestone like a high school graduation photo. High school graduation photos in my case are a good representation of self-portraits in postmodern society. The photos don’t have to be formal but still shows a great representation a strong female graduation from high school. Self-preservation will always be a necessity through time.

Judith Leyster and Frida Kahlo's portraits are a great representation of self-portraits and self-preservation. Even though the artist and art pieces were created centuries apart they are very similar in showing the strong willed females that they are. Judith Leyster used her photo to advertise her skill and product while Frida Kahlo used her self-portrait to show her moment strong moment in time after her divorce from Diego Rivera. These women’s photos are a cultural example that lives on today. Today you might find self-portraits in photos like portraits of milestones or a silly “selfie” from a social media site. Self-portraits are and forever will be a part of art.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Analyzing How Self Is Presented In Judith Leyster’s Painting Self Portrait And Frida Kahlo’s The Two Fridas. (2024, Feb 04). Retrieved from

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