Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Fine Art Tuesday


Snap the Whip 1872. Judging by Queen Anne's Lace and the trees on the slope coloring, painted early October

Winslow Homer, Born in Boston 1836, died 1910.
Winslow Homer spent the first two years of his artistic career working in a shop making wood-prints. There, he learned the limitations of that technology. His later work was wood-print friendly* which facilitated reproductions of his work and vastly increased his popularity.

Further, by avoiding gratuitous detail, Homer was able to churn out an astounding number of paintings. One-hundred-forty-five of his paintings are listed in Wikiart.
Unlike the Hudson River school, the humans in Winslow Homer's works were not dwarfed by the grandeur of nature. Further, Homer's work was able to capture the implied-verb.

Veteran in a New Field 1865

This painting has multiple layers of symbolism starting with the title of the painting. This painting was from 1865, the last year of the Civil War.

The man has his back turned to us implying he doesn't want attention, he just wants to get on with his life.

He is swinging a scythe, a tool associated with the Grim Reaper.

Lurking in the shadows in the lower, right corner is a surprise

The surprised resembles a jumble of bones as might be seen in the catacombs or in nightmares.

*The digital equivalent of Homer's understanding of making his work friendly for reproduction is for bloggers to use graphics that are thumbnail-friendly and to ensure that the first paragraph encapsulates the gist of the essay.


  1. I think that is his military tunic

  2. I kind of disagree about the surprise. That looks to me like the veteran's uniform coat and canteen. I interpret the symbolism to be that he took off his uniform and got to work on his field.

    1. Mike and Danno: You are probably right about the dark blob being his military tunic and the "eyes" are buttons.

      Great catch.

      Symbolism is personal and can operate at many different levels. Yup, sure-as-heck, laying one's uniform on the ground rather than hanging it up is clearly a symbol that you are done with it.


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