Death on the Ridge Road Grant Wood Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The painting of Death on the Ridge appears to be one from an animated movie rather than just an ordinary painting. Wood has created some of the most famous masterpieces that are still hang on museums and art galleries to date even though he passed on a long time ago.

In this particular painting, Wood showcases how well he has mastery of light and that leads to him bringing out this particular painting and its effects perfectly. Moreover, one comes to realise that this painting is more than just visual aspects and light. Read on to find out more.

Its Contents

Grant Wood skilfully uses light to perfectly bring out his subject in the painting. The ridge road is at the centre of the painting, thus making it the main subject of the painting. He paints pictures of the cloud parting that give way to enough light in the painting. In contrast to this, he strives to create an effect by painting edges that are full of darkness, which in turn create a flashlight effect on the vehicles that are on the road. In order to bring out a claustrophobic effect this audience, he balances his use of light on the paintings.

In the painting, a storm is about to come and there are two cars moving on the same direction and there is a large trailer approaching them from the opposite direction. From the painting, it is clear that an accident is about to happen and that is where the scene stops from. Additionally, the black vehicle on the front is also slanted thus covering the entire width of the road. The trailer is also approaching at a high speed and the possibility of an accident on the road is undeniable.

What is the Theme of the artwork and its date, medium and current Location?

The two cars moving on the lonely road on a stormy day, towards the direction of where there is something like a divine light shining down on them from the parted clouds. One can say it is like heaven gates have opened for them. It can easily be interpreted as Christian symbolism. The slanted electric poles look like the cross and there is a red semi-trailer that is approaching the scene. In Christianity, the colour red usually depicts death of Christ on the cross and martyrs. Red can also depict God’s unending love for us.

The people in the black car are likely to die as black symbolises deceit or God’s judgement. One great thing about Wood’s paintings is that they always have more than one way of interpretation. It makes it possible for people to find different ways of interpreting them every day. The painting’s medium is oil on Masonite and its current location is at the Williams College of Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts.