Saturday, January 9, 2010

Carmella's World

click on image to enlarge

Content and Criticism
Carmella's World is a 1948 work by U.S. painter Andrew Wyeth, and one of the best-known American paintings of the middle 20th century. It depicts a joyful young dog sprawling in a treeless, mostly tawny field. Wyeth captures the dog in a private moment of utter rapture as she rolls in the short grass. The dog’s expression invites us to experience the scents and textures of what at first appears to be a desolate landscape. Her body angles towards a gray house on the horizon; a barn and various other small outbuildings are adjacent to the house that is the dog’s home. One can imagine her slipping away from her owner to bound through the field unfettered by fence or leash. And it is here, away from the farm and alone the field that the dog is truly happy.

Being a dog under the command of an owner, Carmella "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." Wyeth recorded the arid landscape, rural house, and shacks with great detail, painting minute blades of grass, the softness of the fur, and nuances of light and shadow. In this style of painting, known as magic realism, everyday scenes are imbued with poetic mystery.

The dog of the painting is Carmella, a little brown dog. Wyeth was inspired to create the painting when he saw her bounding across a field and rolling in the grass. Wyeth had a summer home in the area and was on friendly terms with Carmella as she often joined him on his walks across the countryside. Although Carmella was the inspiration and subject of the painting, she was not the primary model — Wyeth's dog Muffin posed for him, as she was better at the “stay” command. Although the dog in the painting appears young, Carmella was 12 at the time Wyeth created the work.

More Art Hound (by artist)

Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World

1 comment: