You may not know the painting by its name, but you certainly have seen the Christina's World painting before.

The title does not give much away. However, if I said "Do you know the painting of a woman laying in a field looking up at a house on a hill?", you might know what I am talking about.

This is Christina's World, the famous painting created by Andrew Wyeth in 1948.

The Museum of Modern Art via Youtube
The Museum of Modern Art via Youtube

The original painting is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

After seeing this painting intermittently for my entire life, it was not until this week (age 28) that I found out that the depicted woman, field, and housewere all from Maine.

If you like art or history, this is super cool.

But how did the painting come to be?

The artist, Andrew Wyeth, spent his summers vacationing in and around Cushing, Maine. That is where he met Christina Olson and her brother Alcaro, according to a WSHU Public Radio article.

Wyeth used Christina and Alcaro as his subjects for many paintings from 1940 to 1968.  However, none of the paintings amounted to what Christina's World did.

People have been trying to interpret the painting for decades. Why is she on the ground? What does the house mean?

Christina had a disability.

According to Jane Bianco, a curator with the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, Christina "was the victim of a degenerative muscular disorder, which was never diagnosed during her lifetime.”

At the time, Christine refused pain medication and refused to live her life in a wheelchair. So the painting is actually a real-life depiction of a woman with a disability living on a farm.

“So gradually, she lost the ability, or her mobility was impacted by that," Bianco said. "And in fact, when you see her in the field or in the painting, she is probably making her way back towards the house.”

Who knew this incredible piece of art history was based on a real woman from Maine? Super cool.

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