A Few Small Nips, 1935 by Frida Kahlo

In 1934 Frida didn't paint any paintings. In 1935 she painted just a bust-length representation toward oneself in which her hair is short and curvy (because Deigo likes her hair ong) and A Few Small Nips, in which, her torture being so extraordinary it is not possible to express, she tried to reflect it onto another woman's cataclysm. In the painting a bare, bloodied lady lies on a bed underneath her knife wielding killer. Like Frida's in Henry Ford Hospital, her wretchedness is increased by the way her upper and lower body turn in inverse directions.

The scene is based upon a daily paper report that recounted a smashed who murdered his girlfriend by stabing her again and again. On the court the murderer claimed, "But I just give her a couple of little nips!" Inspired by the extraordinary turn-of-the-century Mexican printmaker Jose Guadalupe Posada, whose handouts showing newsworthy occasions regularly delineate men cutting ladies, Frida delivered a painted broadside. With her Mexican black humor, she discovered the story both horrible and interesting. A pennant held by adoration pigeons - of all things! - bears the painting's title. One bird is dark, the other white, implying maybe to the light and dim sides of adoration. As in My Birth, there is incongruity in Frida's decision of sweet pastel colors and a wry cleverness in such subtle elements as the ribbon trimmed cushion, the single high-heeled shoe, the extravagant trim strap, and the fallen stocking worn by what must have been a "fallen" lady. Frida recorded a cartoonlike preparatory drawing for A Few Small Nips with the expressions of what must be a prominent melody: "My sweetie doesn't cherish me any longer in light of the fact that she offered herself to an alternate charlatan, however today I grabbed her away, her hour has come." In the drawing a little kid stands sobbing by what must be his mother's deathbed.

The man is the cliché macho. The lady is the exploited person, la chingada. To a companion Frida trusted that she had painted the killer "on the grounds that in Mexico, executing is very attractive and characteristic." She added that she had required to paint A Few Small Nips in light of the fact that she herself had verged on being "killed by life". At a later date, when she should again have felt killed by life, Frida proceeded with the splotches of blood that make this her goriest painting out onto the picture outline, therefore ensnaring the viewer in the homicide. To be sure, as in My Birth, Frida set up this painting so that the viewer feels cornered by its viciousness: dividers press the bleeding cot to us, and, in light of the fact that one cot leg is cut off by the lower edge of the painting, there is no chance to get for us to skirt the calamity