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Life as a Pioneer

 


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.

American 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.

Actually, Grant 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.

Read 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.

View what 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...

 

 
   
  For Students:
Introduction Quick Facts Pioneer Homes
Scavenger Hunt Life as a Pioneer History Detective
Mystery Photo Pioneer Library
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