Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Big Room, A Magpie Tale

The Big Room, painted by Andrew Wyeth in 1948, offered as a visual prompt by Tess Kincaid for Mag 132. *click here* for that link.

The Big Room was related to winter in Andrew's early life. It is said that the fireplace was a centerpiece of the Wyeth Christmas and that Andrew's Dad (artist N.C. Wyeth) played the role of Santa, literally on the roof and coming down the chimney. Andrew was so frail as a child that he was home schooled.

You may recall the painting, Christina's World depicting her in the fields below her house in Maine. *click here* Does it change your perception of that painting to know that Christina was crippled and actually could not walk, that she was the model for the legs only? The head and torso are not of Christina but of Betsy, his wife. It is said that Christina often refused help from people and devices, choosing to crawl around her family's property.

Home Schooling
The Life Of Andrew Wyeth

I'm a sickly boy
looking at the fire inside.
Dad bangs on the roof
when he's not giving
me lesson after lesson
forming me for life.
That Big Room opened
to Chadds Ford, later to Maine
and I drew my life
and hers, my lady
Christina hopeful as I
in the fields, the fields
of my life and hers
ever grateful she gave me
permission to show
her like that, her legs
trailing her heart just like that,
just like my own life.

August 26, 2012 8:27 AM

The studio where much of Wyeth's work was produced.

"That is one thing I've learned, that it is possible to really understand things at certain points, and not be able to retain them, to be in utter confusion just a short while later. I used to think that once you really knew a thing, its truth would shine on forever. Now it's pretty obvious to me that more often than not the batteries fade, and sometimes what you knew even goes out with a bang when you try to call on it, just like a lightbulb cracking off when you throw the switch."
- Ann Patchett
As found on Whiskey River *click here*


  1. Thank you for the insight into Wyeth's painting, Christopher. Your poem is full of visions from the past and gratitude. How wonderful that Wyeth became so popular and lived to be 91, in spite of his sickly childhood. Wonderful!

  2. But all things change, including perception. Things only stay still in death...

  3. I enjoy a post that has some real content in it, where I can learn something. Thanks.

  4. I suffered serious childhood asthma that was driven by hidden food allergies and many of the usual allergies that were obvious to us. At my worst I could not stress my breathing in any way without risking an attack and so I was basically house bound at that point. I am quite sensitive to that kind of frailty and its later recovery. I received the help of an allergy specialist when I was 12 and that allowed me to grow out of nearly all of my trouble.
    Unfortunately, the travail of my early years seems to be returning in my elder years. I am a few months shy of 67 now. Had I been born a decade earlier I might not have made it out of childhood. It was nip and tuck for a few years.

  5. Lovely share and snapshot of the artist ~ I don't know what it is to be home schooled so I appreciated the notes ~

  6. Legs trailing her poignant...I love that...

  7. What Tess said. Plus, I learned a new thing today, with that lovely look into Wyeth's life.

  8. A very neat piece of ekphrasis, drawing on both the picture and its painter.

  9. Thank you for this Christopher - a love snapshot of Wyeth's life.

    Anna :o]

  10. Mmmmh - should be lovely of course!

    Anna :o]

  11. Insightful....thank you for sharing this Christopher. :-)


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