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Art and Images in Psychiatry
July 2004


Author Affiliations


Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004;61(7):647-648. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.61.7.647

Frida Kahlo's (1907-1954) prize-winning1(p320) painting Moses examines the birth ofthe hero in myth and legend. Stimulated by Sigmund Freud's Moses and Monotheism,2 Kahlo providesher imaginative visual response to Freud's text. Her friend and patron, engineerJosé Domingo Lavín, had lent her the book to read and, notingher fascination with it, suggested that she paint her interpretation. In explainingthe painting to a group of friends, she said that she read the book once andthen began to paint her first impression. She told them that the theme wasMoses, or the birth of the hero, but that she generalized this in her ownway: "What I wanted to express most intensely and clearly was the reason thatpeople need to invent or imagine heroes is because of their pure [unmitigated]fear—fear of life and fear of death."3(p72)

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