The 1930 painting Grant Wood is one of the most parodyed paintings to date. Here are some interesting notes on the table.
what is what is not
American Gothic, made by Grant Wood (1891-1942), is one of the most widely known works of American art. Although the painting is often seen as a satire of Central America, it was not intended to be so by its painter.
wood encounters a nineteenth century house built in 1930 in a style known as “carpenter gothic”. imagining a farmer and his daughter standing in front of their house, he makes a quick sketch on brown paper and takes some pictures. Wood then completes his composition at home using his sister as the model for the girl and the dentist for the farmer.
Both of the characters wore the solemn garments typical of the Victorian era. The forked ends of the farmer’s hand complement the window frames of the house, and the rounded bottom repeats the oval shape of the two faces. The motionless, stone-like expressions of the characters remind us of the moments seen in early photographs, when people were asked to remain still for long periods.
wood finishes the painting just in time to enter a competition at the art institute of chicago. As a result to his surprise, the painting wins a bronze medal and a $ 300 prize. today the painting is constantly exhibited in the art institute.
- The straw harrow is interpreted as a symbol of masculinity, evil and farming.
- The house in the picture has shutters pulled up and the windows are closed; this detail seems to emphasize the hostile and fearful attitude of the couple.