Christina’s WorldBMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2142 (Published 21 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2142
- Desmond O’Neill, consultant physician in geriatric and stroke medicine, Dublin
It is among the most iconic images of American art. A young woman lies in the grass, raised on her arms in a pose of vigilant expectancy: across parched undulating fields lie a farmhouse and outhouses. Viewed across the treeless landscape, the figure and her unusual pose radiate vulnerability against this vast openness (www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A6464&page_number=1&template_id=1&sort_order=1).
This is not purely happenstance. Christina Olson (1893-1968) had a progressive neurological illness that led to increasing immobility. She had chosen to crawl around the farm and grounds shown in the painting for many …