The essay "Grant Wood, How Painting Influenced his Life" discovers the art of Grant Wood. He began with painting advertisements and flyers in order to maintain a stable but low source of income and then moved on to sketching and painting home décor, overseeing stain glass making and other such jobs. With time, he began to absorb larger influences within his life and one of the first of such influences was regionalism; Wood associated himself with the regionalism that prevailed within the Midwest and took to painting themes concerned with rural American backgrounds, homes and people, ‘in an aggressive rejection of European abstraction.’ Wood was extremely influenced by the repression faced by the rural people in America at the time and felt their pain probably because he belonged to a similar background; thus his American Gothic, one of the most renowned paintings after Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Munch’s The Scream, reflected his personal ideals and brought him immediate recognition. The painting depicts a man and a woman, dressed in 19th century American clothing that the rural or working class wore; the man is holding a pitchfork in his hand symbolizing the hard work and laborious effort that one had to use in order to earn their daily bread. The countenances of both the man and the woman speak for the artist excellently as they display the frustration and annoyance, along with stress and tension that the couple have been bearing throughout their lives, and know that they have to continue this way. in order to sustain each other. The couple interestingly however is a man and his daughter, and not a married couple, further suggesting the difficult lives that people at the time lived that they could not even get their daughters married. For this particular piece of work, Wood has stated that his influence lies in Eldon, a place in the southern part of Iowa, where one can still find a number of gothic styled buildings and architecture with pointed roofs and medieval windows. The house in the background of his painting has been inspired from one such home in southern Iowa and the atmosphere that it adorned also provided him the influence to imagine the kind of people that might have lived within that house. Wood was extremely interested in studying the nature of the working class and the same may be seen in the detailing of the clothes in his painting as he took every care in order to depict the life of a true family living in the era of gothic life. Wood himself has also stated that his influences arise from northern renaissance paintings and that his technique could be traced to a number of such European paintings. (European Traditions in Grant Wood) Though an American, Wood heavily loved the severity with which European artists made their work; he travelled to Europe a few times in order to adopt the Impressionistic style of art as well as adorn his art with surrealistic touches. While he was in Paris, he was greatly influenced by Seurat’s work entitled Un Dimanche a la Grande Jatte and Wood’s Dinner For Threshers displays a resemblance to Seurat’s work. He experimented with his work a great deal after returning to America and began to develop his own style instead of trying to be like a European artist; he made contemporary paintings, influenced by images around him for example his mother, to whom he dedicated Woman with Plants. Many of his paintings have also emerged from the pain that he felt due to the historical
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