Regarding American Gothic, what makes the painting balanced?

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The composition of Grant Wood's American Gothic is almost as close to being symmetrically balanced as a picture can be without actually being symmetrical. The male figure takes up more of the foreground than the female, but this is balanced by the absolute centrality of the pitchfork and the hand that grasps it. Again, the white clapboard house behind the couple is not quite central to the composition, but it is balanced out by the red building seen over the man's left shoulder. Even the amounts of pale blue sky and white cloud on each side of the painting are similar, the same amount blocked by the man's domed head on one side being obscured by the house and trees on the other.

Other colors are also evenly distributed between the two sides, with the dark clothes of the man and woman predominating in the foreground throughout the bottom two-thirds of the painting and the amount of green treetop being approximately equal on both sides. The couple have similar physiques and similar faces,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 857 words.)

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Last Reviewed by eNotes Editorial on November 12, 2019
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