Grant Wood’s 'American Gothic' caused a stir in 1930 when it was exhibited for the first time at The Art Institute of Chicago and awarded a prize of 300 dollars. The painting of a farm couple posed before a white house brought the artist instant fame. The Iowa native, then in his late 30s, was enchanted by a cottage he had seen in the small southern Iowa town of Eldon. Its Gothic Revival style, indicated by the upper window designed to resemble a medieval pointed arch, inspired the painting’s title. He asked his sister, Nan and his dentist to pose as a farmer and his unmarried daughter. The woman is dressed in a colonial print apron mimicking 19th century Americana and the couple are in the traditional roles of men and women, the man's pitchfork symbolizing hard labor, and the flowers over the woman's right shoulder suggesting domesticity. The highly detailed style and rigid frontal arrangement of the figures were inspired by Northern Renaissance art, which the artist studied during three trips to Europe. After returning to Iowa, he became increasingly appreciative of the traditions of the Midwest, which he also celebrated in works such as this. It is one of the most familiar images in 20th century American art and one of the most parodied artworks within American popular culture.