Sunday, April 7, 2013

American Gothic

I chose to blog about American Gothic (1930) by Grant Wood because of the vast interpretations and debate it created.
Grant Wood (1891-1942) was an American artist who trained in both America and Europe. He did many works with impressionism and post-impressionism, but his most famous piece American Gothic centered around regionalism. Regionalism originated in the midwest and brought the simple and rural life of American to the canvas. However, American Gothic revealed to be not so simple. Some interpret the work just as basic as the definition of regionalism, a painting of simple rural life. Some say that the painting depicts a farmer and his wife with the pitchfork representing masculinity and the flowers above the woman as feminism. Others interpret the two sitters as father and daughter with the pitchfork symbolizing the man warding of lusters of his daughter. Even more, some say the work depicts mourning with the facial expressions, the black clothing, and the closed drapes of the house as the its representation. Concerning the sitters, Wood revealed that they were his sister and their family dentist and leaving the rest to open interpretation. 

My personal interpretation of the piece is based off of the regionalism movement. American Gothic was painted around the times of the Great Depression and I believe Wood is referencing American life in those times. The Great Depression left the American people struggling to make ends-meat and left people on edge trying to survive. The solemn facial expressions on the sitters represents the struggle and the pitchfork represents the hard work that is necessary to survive and to move forward. In my view this is picture represents America, a country built on hard work and labor. 


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