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Winslow Homer Essay

809 words - 4 pages

“When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see. Whatever else you have to offer will come out anyway” (Hodge 126). Quoted by the master American realism artist, Winslow Homer was skilled in the art of realism. He painted only what he observed from nature and his surroundings. Homer’s styles, mediums and subjects helped him create the artwork that he was so famous for. Probably his most famous painting, The Snap of the Whip is painted by Homer with incredible realism and accomplishment. As seen through his many landscapes, Winslow Homer enjoyed painting and studying the glorious nature that surrounded him all throughout his lifetime. s

The famous American realist, Winslow Homer, lived from 1836-1910, was born in Boston. The only art lessons he acquired were from his mother who was a watercolorist. Soon after being apprenticed to a lithographer at age 19, Homer moved to New York and started working as a magazine illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. There he started painting landscapes without format training. As the Civil war rose up Homer was commissioned by Harper’s Weekly to paint depictions the camp life (Strickland 85), and “his powerful record of the horrors of the war” (Hodge 127). When he traveled to Paris, Winslow Homer studied the paintings and art form of artists such as Millet, Manet and Courbet. In 1875 Homer left his illustrating job and started to paint for himself but struggled financially. After living two years in an English fishing village in Northumberland, Homer moved back to the Maine coast of the United States in 1882 (Hodge 127). There he painted some of his more famous paintings such as “The Gulf Stream” and “The Life Line,” showing man-against-elements (Strickland 85). Regarded as the greatest American painter of the 19th century, Winslow Homer showed his skill throughout his lifetime (Hodge 127).

The style, mediums and subjects of Homer’s art work are the key elements that make it so prosperous. The fact that he is a realist artist is evident through his belief in having no outside influences or theories in his art. Wanting to paint everything exactly as he observed from nature he stated “When I have selected the thing carefully, I paint it exactly as it appears.” He also said that “If a man wants to be an artist, he should never look at paintings” meaning that everything they paint should come from what then observe of the object they are...

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