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Winslow Homer: Life And Works Essay

1366 words - 5 pages

Winslow Homer is said to be one of the greatest and most recognized artists of the 19th century. Homer has certainly earned his rightful place in the history of American art as well as a place in the history of American Culture. Winslow Homer was born in Boston to a well- established New England family. Most of his childhood was spent in Cambridge Massachusetts. He led a very active outdoor lifestyle that is reflected in most of his paintings. At the age of 19 he began to pursue his artist career by becoming an apprentice in the Boston Lithographic firm of J.H. Bufford. His only form of training was at local art classes where he learned the basic principles and styles of art. He also studied under Fredrick Rondel a well-known painter in Boston. Homer worked at Bufford's for 3 years and then left because "Harper's Weekly", the best magazine of its time, wanted homer to work for them. Homer quickly became their leading illustrator and main artist. During the Civil war, he drew a great number of scenes from the war for the front cover. These drawings later inspired him to paint such works as Prisoner's from the Front, one of his most famous paintings. This is a painting of men going to war during the civil war. Many people were overwhelmed with his great ability to capture the civil war scenes with such great detail, and consider them some of the most powerful and authentic records of union troop experience. Homer also submitted paintings to the National Academy of Design and was elected a full academician, which is an outstanding achievement given to artists for their great artwork. This sparked his need to travel and explore. So homer went to France to study art. Here he visited many exhibits of the leading artist, such as controversial art by Edourd Manet and realistic art by Gustave Courbet. Upon returning to the states, homer settled in New York, where he produced many of his great works. He began to explore many subjects, such as rural life, recreational activities, and childhood themes using nationalistic techniques. He produced genre paintings of his nationalistic concerns and post-war nostalgia. One of his more famous paintings is Snap the Whip. This is a painting of young boys playing in a field. He worked with this style up until the 1870's, when he began experimenting with watercolors. While working with watercolors, homer began his focus on painting images of former slaves and exploring the theme of man versus nature. One of his key paintings of this time is Fog Warning. It shows a man at sea fishing and looking to the sky for a storm approaching. The waves are crashing and the man looks to be worried. This painting was a transition of his early genre paintings to more serious themes, such as local folk fishing and the sea. For this painting he hire a local fisherman to pose in a dory beached on a sand dune. This enabled him to reproduce accurately the angle of the boat buoyed up by the swelling waves. Homer originally called this...

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