The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
Grant Wood (1891-1942) painted The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (cover ) in 1931, just a year after he had created what would become the country's national icon, American Gothic (JAMA cover, August 9, 1976). And while American Gothic was an actual portrait likeness of Wood's sister, Nan, and Wood's Cedar Rapids dentist, the Paul Revere painting was pure fantasy, a boy's eye view of the Longfellow poem he had heard at his mother's knee. Already filtered through the imagination of a romantic poet, the legend of Paul Revere is further romanticized by Wood into a tableau reminiscent of the model trains that wind through model villages under model trees each year at Christmastime. Church, houses, chimneys, hills and dales, rivers and roads, and, in the left foreground, a tiny, gesticulating figure rousing villagers to warn them of the British while urging his rocking horse figure on to even greater speed. A child's delight.
Southgate MT. The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. JAMA. 2006;295(14):1621. doi:10.1001/jama.295.14.1621