Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christina's World

For those who are interested, the title, “Jake’s World” is a reference to realist painter Andrew Wyeth’s famous 1948 painting “Christina’s World.” In that painting a woman lays on a yellow field looking at a house in the distance. I always found this painting to be haunting and full of longing. A viewer must ask, what is in that house that Christina is looking at, why is she lying on that field? Is she tired of traveling and just spying her destination? Or is she trying to run away and the contents of the home, be they family, husband, kids, etc. keep drawing her back. There’s a very real sense of drama in that painting and mystery. I love it. In the same way my character Jake is longing for something distant and past. Something that never was, a happy childhood with his mother in their quaint upstate home.

See the painting in more detail here.

Find out about the house in the Wyeth painting.

The painting is in the Museum of Modern Art Collection.

There is even a book about woman in the painting Christina Olson was a real person.

Here is a brief summary of the book from alibris:

About this title: Recollections from people who knew Christina Olson give us an unusual portrait of an obscure Maine woman whose image became, somewhat ironically, one of the most recognized, loved, and misunderstood in all of American painting. In Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World, she is the woman in the pink dress, half-reclining in a vast, open field, leaning toward the dark mass of a farmhouse. Almost everyone recognizes that image, and many mistakenly assume that it shows a young woman resting pensively in the golden autumn grass. The real Christina Olson spent her entire life in that house. When Wyeth met her, she was in late middle age and unable to walk upright at all. By then her world was defined by the distance she could crawl. But she was a woman of keen intelligence and dry humor, as this unusual biography makes clear. Jean Brooks, Christina's niece, knew for years that she must create this book: "So many untruths have been written about my Aunt Christina, " she says. "She should be remembered most for her...personality, her independent nature, and her dignity."


mckay said...

i've always liked this painting. thanks for the background information.

The Phoenix said...

Yeah, that's a very recognizable painting. I always imagined that the woman in the painting was just getting away for a moment, getting away from her responsibilities only for a few minutes.

Laying on the open field, she's just relaxing, enjoying her moment alone before she has to go back home and continue all her womanly chores.

Athene Aquinas said...

I guess I should be embarrassed but I've never seen that painting before.... but sort of got lost in it now that I have. I like it. Thanks Lon :-)

Melly said...

Very interesting. Sometimes the most interesting things happen in real life.

David Amulet said...

I have always imagined that she was asleep in the field and woke up suddenly out of a dream -- and the painting captures her just as she is pushing herself up and looking around to get her bearings.

-- david

Lee said...

I saw this art for the first time when I was about 10 years old for sale at a garage sale type thing....and it scard the ___ out of me. I imagined her running from the house...from the terror that just happened in that house. She ran as far as she could before she fell down, and with her last strength, she managed to sit up and look back to see if anybody was chasing her. This is definitely the most disturbing painting I've ever seen. It creates such emotion that I WANT this painting...even though the emotions are uncomfortable--I want it BECAUSE the emotions are uncomfortable. When anything hits me as hard as this painting did, I have to have it....even though I don't want it or don't like what I feel when I look at it. Yeah, I'm twisted like that. This painting leaves your mind to wonder just what is going on, and my mind initially wondered in the wrong direction and I can't go back and change that. This painting is a little too real--the drama is too intense.

Anonymous said...

We were sitting in my gifted class one afternoon, when my teacher told us to flip through our books and find a painting. I found "Christina's World."I thought that the girl in the painting was feeling alone, like she was just abandoned.... I don't know, but it made me think that someone she loved more than life itself just left her to sit there and cry. But it's still sad that this woman was actually crippled and she was out there all alone with no one to help her. I kinda wish I could of helped her. I do love this painting. I wish I could have it, but my dad wouldn't buy it for me. We have no place to put it. I still really love it. :)