“Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth
“Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth depicts a woman semi-reclining on the ground in a treeless, mostly tawny field, looking up at a grey house on the horizon. A barn and various other small outbuildings are adjacent to the house. Wyeth was inspired to create the painting when he saw a woman crawling across a field while he was watching from a window in the house. The woman was suffering from a disease that limited her mobility and was 55-year years old. Wyeth explained that the woman:
“was limited physically but by no means spiritually.”
Although the older women inspired the subject of the painting, Wyeth used his wife Betsy as a younger model to pose as the torso for the art. Wyeth wanted to:
“do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless.”
The house depicted in the picture is known as the Olson House in Cushing, Maine and is open to the public, and has been restored to match its appearance in the painting, although Wyeth separated the house from its barn and changed the lay of the land for the painting. He focused on the arid landscape, rural house, and shacks with great detail. Wyeth painted blades of grass, individual strands of hair, and nuances of light and shadow in great detail. Wyeth captured an everyday scene but imbued it with poetic mystery.
Images of Christina’s World have been widely distributed in educational material and has become familiar to many American students and has featured in popular culture through several films.
Andrew Newell Wyeth (1917 – 2009) was a visual artist, working predominantly in a regionalist style. He was one of the best-known U.S. artists of the middle 20th century. In his art, Wyeth’s favourite subjects were the land and people around him, both in his hometown in Pennsylvania and at his summer home in Maine. One of the best-known images in 20th-century American art is his painting Christina’s World.
- Do you agree that “Art is higher than reality and has no direct relation to reality”?
- Title: Christina’s World
- Artist: Andrew Wyeth
- Year: 1948
- Material: Tempera on panel
- Dimensions: 32 1/4 x 47 3/4″ (81.9 x 121.3 cm))
- Museum: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC
- Name: Andrew Wyeth
- Born: 1917, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, US
- Died: 2009 (aged 91), Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, US
- Nationality: American
- Notable works:
Explore the Museum of Modern Art, NYC
- “Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond” by Claude Monet
- “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh
- “Broadway Boogie Woogie” by Piet Mondrian
- “Le Grand Nu” by Amedeo Modigliani
- “The Sleeping Gypsy” by Henri Rousseau
- “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth
- Masterpieces of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC
“I invent nothing, I rediscover.”
– Auguste Rodin
Photo Credit: Piet Mondrian [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons