Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
This artistic and physical convergence was called the union of an elephant and a dove. Diego Rivera was a huge, rumbustious Communist who turned his back on the fashionable Cubist movement to forge a Mexican art of the common people. His work was public, democratic, painted on walls, accessible to all. Frida Kahlo was tiny, beautiful (despite her pronounced monobrow) and always ill, with a leg shrivelled by polio and a spinal column chronically wasted by a terrible bus accident. Her paintings were introverted, personal, intimate, full of emotional delicacy and hurt. The couple's 30-year love affair was intense but stormy. The elephantine Diego was a chronic ladies' man, who even had an affair with Frida's sister; Frida retaliated by having several affairs herself, with women as well as men. But they inspired each other's art. Her husband appears in many of Kahlo's paintings, reduced to a miniature cameo clamped to her forehead, or seen as a baby. They tried divorcing in 1940, but were back together within a year. He always helped her career, showed her off to the art community of Mexico City and New York, and watched without rancour as she gradually came to eclipse him.