Christina's World Artist: Andrew WyethDate: 1948 Medium: Tempera on panel Dimensions: 32 1/4 x 47 3/4"
About the Painting The woman crawling through the tawny grass was the artist's neighbor in Maine, who, crippled by polio, "was limited physically but by no means spiritually." Wyeth further explained, "The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless." He recorded the arid landscape, rural house, and shacks with great detail, painting minute blades of grass, individual strands of hair, and nuances of light and shadow. In this style of painting, known as magic realism, everyday scenes are imbued with poetic mystery. http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=78455
Christina’s World (1948) is a familiar image in popular culture but upon closer examination, the scene can be quite mysterious. Who is the young woman in the field, and what is she thinking as she stares off into the distance? Curator Laura Hoptman’s richly illustrated essay revisits the genesis of the painting to place it within the context of Wyeth’s life and career. Curiously, the artist depicted only two locations in his paintings over the course of his 70-year career: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where he was born, and South Cushing, Maine, where his wife Betsy’s family owned a home. And within these two locations, he focused mainly on two families, the Kuerners in Chadds Ford and the Olsons in South Cushing. Anna Christina Olson of South Cushing, who had a degenerative muscle condition that cost her the use of her legs by her early 30s, was the inspiration for Wyeth’s most famous painting. http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/11/21/a-closer-look-at-christinas-world
Technique The composition is perfectly asymmetrically balanced, though parts of the farmhouse were rearranged by artistic license to accomplish this feat. Wyeth painted in egg tempera, a medium that requires the artist to mix (and constantly monitor) his own paints, but allows for great control. Notice the incredible detail here, where individual hairs and blades of grass are painstakingly highlighted. His egg tempera technique is very detailed with rendering of tiny elements as for example the grass field in “Christina’s World”. It is the egg tempera technique, a technique where an initial wash is covered with the structure of woven dots and lines in different related or opposite colours, which is reflected in the watercolour drybrush technique. http://arthistory.about.com/od/famous_paintings/ss/andrew_wyeth_christinas_world.htm http://www.petervnielsen.dk/Drybrush_Andrew_Wyeth.shtml
Use the following questions as guidelines for your final critique
Description - Please answer question 1 and pick at least 3 others to answer. Use complete sentences 1. Please write a description in sentence form of everything you see in this painting (minimum of 5 things) 2. List all of the colors, color schemes, color values (tint, shades), color intensity, etc. 3. List all the types of lines you see (straight, curved, zig zag, thick, thin, implied, jagged, broken, etc.) 4. List all the shapes you see (Geometric, organic, etc.) 5. List all the values you see (Light, middle, dark, etc) 6. List all of the textures (rough, smooth, shiny, etc.) 7. List all of the space (flat,shallow, deep, vast, etc.)
Analysis - Choose at least 4 questions and answer them in complete sentences 1.How did the artist show balance in the piece (Radial, Symmetrical, and Asymmetrical)? 2. How did the artist use emphasis in the work (What is the Focal point, what stands out the most)? 3. How did the artist use unity in the work (object grouped together or close together, repeated colors,lines,etc, things seem to fit together)? 4. How did the artist use contrast in the work (opposites - Big/small, plain/patterned, light/dark, etc)? 5. How did the artist show pattern in the piece (motif, a decorative design, a repeated design)? 6. How did the artist show movement in the work (captures the idea of physical movement or the way the artist leads/traps the viewers eye inside the painting)? 7. How did the artist use Rhythm in the work of art (repeated at a regular interval or irregular interval)?
Interpretation - Please pick at least 4 question and answer them in complete sentences 1. What is the artwork about? 2. What does it make me think about? 3. What is the artist trying to say? 4. What is the mood or feeling in the painting (happy, sad, scary, lonely, violent, erratic, etc)? 5. Is the work symbolic or does it have hidden meaning? 6. What evidence supports what you think about what the artist is trying to say? 7. What would it feel like to be inside the painting (sounds, smells, temperature, etc.)? 8. Is this painting realistic, abstract, etc?
Judgement- Please pick at least 3 questions and answer them in a complete sentences 1. What is your opinion of this painting? 2. Do you like the painting or not? Why? 3. Do you think this artist is talented? 4. How much do you think this painting is worth? 5. What are the strengths and weakness of this work?