Grant Wood’s "American Gothic" Essay

Grant Wood’s "American Gothic" Essay

Length: 1418 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Grant Wood’s American Gothic is one of the most famous paintings in the history of American art. The painting brought Wood almost instant fame after being exhibited for the first time at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1930. It is probably the most reproduced and parodied works of art, and has become a staple within American pop-culture. The portrait of what appears to be a couple, standing solemnly in front of their mid-western home seems to be a simplistic representation of rural America. As simple as it sounds, when looking deeper into this image, it reveals something much more complex.
The first thing to notice about this painting is how incredibly involved and realistic the brushwork is. The couple’s faces are so delicately rendered. Every wrinkle is visible and every hair strand is in it’s place. The soft folds and patterns of their clothing, and the grain of the vertical boards on the house, are highly developed and reveal Wood’s incredible attention to detail. The man, especially, appears to be nearly photorealistic.
There is, however, a slight opposition to this intense realism. It can be seen in Wood’s representation of foliage. The trees that appear in the upper left corner look like large green lollipops peeking over the roof of the house. The viewer knows that trees do not naturally look like that. Wood has depicted them as stylized and modern, similar to the trees seen is Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the island of La Grand Jatte. After viewing other works by Wood, it is clear that he has adopted this representation for the trees in many of his paintings.
One of the most prominent features of the painting is the use of repetition. In the forefront of the picture plane we see a three-pronged pitchfork. That sam...


... middle of paper ...


...e that way, due to the modern conveniences such as automobiles and the telephone, and wanted to pay homage to his more primitive childhood. It is hard to say what exactly it means considering Wood left us very little to go on. He died an early death and had apparently not spoken too much about his intentions of the painting.
They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If that is true, I would have to say that many people praise American Gothic every day. It is parodied in the political cartoons of the newspapers around the country and on television as well. Almost anyone could recognize the solemn couple from having been printed on everything from coffee mugs to mousepads. Grant Wood’s classic tale of a farming family in rural Iowa has truly
Wamble 7
become a staple in modern American culture, as well as a highly revered Regionalist masterpiece.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Outlining Hope in American Gothic and Rural Rehabilitation Client Essay

- Grant Wood was a Regionalist artist who continually endeavored to capture the idyllic beauty of America’s farmlands. In 1930 he had been roaming through his hometown in Iowa searching for inspiration when he stumbled upon a house that left him spellbound. From this encounter came America’s iconic American Gothic. Not long after Wood’s masterpiece was complete the once ideal countryside and the people who tended to it were overcome by despair and suffering as the Great Depression came to be. It was a time of economic distress that affected nearly every nation....   [tags: art, compare, grant wood, Shahn ]

Powerful Essays
917 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on American Gothic

- I had done some fashion work in St. Paul and I had principally gone to Chicago to shoot fashion, but I found myself doing more and more work on the south side, the poverty stricken areas where the blacks lived. That is what got me a Rosenwald Fellowship, the first one ever given in photography. At the time, Jack Delano was in Chicago and he encouraged me to come to the Farm Security Administration. I wanted to work at the FSA because they were doing what I wanted to do ; exposing poverty in America- and along with poverty I wanted to expose racism in America, so I sort of fit right into the grove....   [tags: Grant Wood Gordon Parks]

Free Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

American Gothic And The Great Depression Essay

- Allee McIntyre – Art 2210 – MW 2pm American Gothic and The Great Depression American Gothic is a painting by American artist Grant Wood in 1930. Shown in the painting is what appears to be a farmer and his spinster daughter in front of their house. However, the models for the painting were Grant Wood’s sister, Nan, wearing a colonial print apron mimicking the 19th century Americana style, and Wood’s dentist, Doctor Byron McKeeby from the state of Iowa. Wood painted the house along with the people he imagined might live there....   [tags: Great Depression, 1930s, Wall Street Crash of 1929]

Powerful Essays
902 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on Grant Wood

- Grant Wood            I recently took a trip to the Jocelyn Art Museum. There they had many great painting in the permanent art collection. One that caught my eye, which I had seen many times before, but never knew any thing about, was a painting called Stone City, Iowa , which was created by Grant Wood in 1930. This painting is oil on wood panel and is 30 ¼ X 40 inches. Grant Wood is a famous philosopher who was born in February in the year 1891 in Anamosa, Iowa. Wood was born to Quaker parents on a small farm....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1028 words (2.9 pages)

Subject Placement in American Gothic, The Third of May, Acrobat’s Family, and Waterseller

- Subject Placement in “American Gothic,” “The Third of May,” “The Acrobat’s Family,” and “The Waterseller” Besides bright or dim colors, and fine or rough brush strokes, artists use centralized composition to convey their interpretations in "The Acrobat's Family with a Monkey," "Amercian Gothic," "The Water-Seller," and "The Third of May,1808.” Grant Wood strategically places objects and characters to emphasize the central object, the pitchfork, expressing an atmosphere of unwelcomness, in his painting "American Gothic." The pitchfork attracts the viewer's attention as the most prominent feature of the painting....   [tags: Art Artists Artwork Essays]

Powerful Essays
1097 words (3.1 pages)

What Does It Mean For The American Dream? Essay

- What Does It Mean To Be An American. Many People who live in America believe they are more than just ‘Americans’ but a blend of different people and cultures all mixed together. So what makes anyone an American. What does it really mean to be an American. Does having set values and the rights make them Americans. ‘The American dream’ was not just a dream but a reality that our ancestors fraught to achieve. There are many articles, books and art that try to show and make people understand what being an American really means, like in The Color Purple, by Alice Walker....   [tags: United States]

Powerful Essays
1661 words (4.7 pages)

The Hierarchical Social Structure in Velasquez's The Water Seller, Picasso's Acrobat's Family with

- The Hierarchical Social Structure in Velasquez's The Water Seller, Picasso's Acrobat's Family with a Monkey,Wood's American Gothic, and Goyez's The Third of May The pyramidal structures in Velasquez's The Water Seller, Picasso's Acrobat's Family with a Monkey, Wood's American Gothic, Goyez's The Third of May reflects the components of society. At the top of the pyramid is the single individual, as presented by Diego Velasquez in "The Waterseller of Seville," which portrays the three images of a boy and old man in the foreground and the shadowy figure in the background, whom stand in a circle....   [tags: Seller Acrobat Family Gothic Third May Essays]

Free Essays
944 words (2.7 pages)

What It Means to be an Amaerican Essay

- What it means to be an American People today have mimicked their lives after what they are seeing celebrities do. TV and movies can also help influence people they can inspire someone to become a better person, take action and unite people to come together. Through popular music, art, film, and literature, we can discern that American identity is influenced by what we see on TV, movies, art work and, music. The Statue of Liberty is famous for its beauty and elegant structure. When immigrants first arrived in America the first thing they saw was lady liberty standing in the middle of Ellis Island holding her arm up high....   [tags: Culture ]

Powerful Essays
1152 words (3.3 pages)

American Landscapes Essay

- Through suffering, comes a new consciousness in man. America has been a haven for unity and freedom for decades. To achieve this requires much loss and pain. The strive of the American culture for the attainment of such social luxuries is of great courage, will-power, faith and pride. During a time when the first World War had ended and the country was in a state of isolation, there were people within its borders that had an undying belief in what this country stood for. Though often overlooked and underappreciated in their time, artists had an advantage of using the suffering of the country and its industrial growth as a concentration for their bodies of work....   [tags: US History Literature]

Powerful Essays
1242 words (3.5 pages)

American Timber: In-Depth Approach Toward Wood Derivative Markets and Deforestation Legislation

- ... The demand for timber lead to a few of America's first patents for improvements in a sawmill as well as twenty-three patents for nail making machinery. Such exploits in reducing the cost of building supplies led to reducing the cost of building and advancing building techniques. The abundance of timber boosted the colonial growth of America and a closer inspection of the prices of derivative markets may lead to fascinating efficiencies of modern deforestation legislation noting the differences with clear-cutting....   [tags: wood, economic, lumber, timber]

Powerful Essays
1071 words (3.1 pages)