Interpreting American Gothic
Grant Wood was a famous
American artist. The subject of many of his paintings was farm life in
pioneer times and the early 1900s.
Gothic and Stone
City were two of his most famous paintings. His inspiration for this
work came from a small frame house in the town of Eldon,
Iowa. This house had interesting windows in its gables that were "gothic"
in their design.
"Gothic" windows were pointed at the top and looked like an up-side-down
pitchfork. A hundred years ago, this gothic design was often used when
designing homes, public buildings and even tombstones.
In addition to the gothic window, notice how the pitchfork in the farmer's
hand is also important to the design of the painting.
Wood "hid" a lot of pitchforks in his paintings.
How many can you find?
Check out The
Story of American Gothic for an interpretation of the artwork that
includes comments about the pitchfork in the painting.
what Grant Wood said about this painting.
Make Your Own American Gothic
Many people have used this painting as a starting
point for greeting cards, magazine covers and political cartoons.
other students have created and this
student museum, and create your own version of American Gothic.
American Gothic Transformations
Why is this painting called gothic?
November 18, 2002, National Public Radio “Morning Edition” report about “American Gothic” by Melissa Gray that includes an interview with Art Institute of Chicago curator Daniel Schulman
Life as a Pioneer Continued...