Christina's World

by Andrew Wyeth

About Christina's World

Date: 1948

Medium: Tempera

Dimensions: 32 1/4 x 47 3/4"

Location: Cushing, Maine

"The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless." - Wyeth

The Olson house that was the setting for "Christina's World."

The farmhouse was owned by brother and sister, Alvaro and Christina Olson. Andrew Wyeth was introduced to them by his wife, Betsy James. The house and surrounding field became an inexhaustible subject for his paintings. He depicted the house and its owner in nearly 300 drawings, and watercolor and tempera paintings. The house has been named a National Historic Landmark.

Although Christina Olson's disease was undiagnosed, many people have speculated that she suffered from a neuromuscular disorder, which may have been polio. Wyeth debated for a while of how to paint her scrawny right arm. The actual head and torso of Christina in the painting was modeled by Wyeth's wife.

Wyeth's Life

  • Andrew was born in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in 1917. His parents were the artist NC Wyeth and Carolyn Bockius, and was the youngest of five other children. He was born with a faulty hip that caused his feet to turn out when he walked. Due to this he was frequently sick and was taught by tutors instead of going to school.
  • At age 15 his father began to teach him art, but only taught him for 2 years before letting him go out on his own. By age 20, Wyeth had his debut in NYC with his watercolors, and had become famous in art world. Wyeth began experimenting with tempera after becoming bored with watercolors, deeming them too easy.
  • At age 22, Wyeth married Betsy James.
  • At age 31, Wyeth had accomplished something that eludes most painters, even some of the best, in an entire lifetime. He had created an icon—a work that registers as an emotional and cultural reference point in the minds of millions.

"The art of Wyeth resonates in every heart with an honesty and love for humanity beyond borders of all kinds" - Nakamura

Why is it important?

Christina's World is a painting that can evoke several emotions - hope, despair, loneliness. Christina seems to be reaching for something unattainable, which many people can connect to. In addition to that, Wyeth's painting skills are extremely realistic.

[write a brief judgment of what you think of the work upon completing your rendition of the work. What did you learn from the experience? ( Complete thoughts, 5-7 sentences in length)]

Works Cited

Adams, Henry. "Wyeth's World." N.p., June 2006. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. <>.

"Christina's World." Museum of Modern Art. Museum of Modern Art, n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. <>.

Duggan, Bob. "The World behind Christina's World." Big Think. N.p., 6 Aug. 2011. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. <>. Holson, Laura M. "A Stroll through Wyeth’s Giverny." The New York Times. N.p., 11 Aug. 2011. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. < the-farmhouse-of-wyeths-christinas-world.html?_r=0>.