The name of the artwork that I have chosen to analyze is Home, Sweet Home by Winslow Homer. Homer first came to national attention during the Civil War with his accurate, vivid sketches of life at the front. As an artist-reporter he accompanied the Army of the Potomac in the Peninsula campaign in Virginia, observing camp life and some combat. While Homer drew a few traditional military scenes, such as bayonet and cavalry charges, he mostly depicted the utterly unheroic day-to-day activities of ordinary soldiers behind the lines.
Homer's Civil War drawings and paintings showed not only accurate down-to-earth details of soldiers' everyday lives but touched on themes of isolation, morality and nature's adversity, which he dealt with in his later art. To this day, these wartime images remain powerful reminders of this nation's most tragic conflict.
In the extraordinarily richly painted Home Sweet Home (circa 1863), the sky and background resemble a classical landscape with its cloudy blue coloration and small groups of figures in the Background. When I took a closer look and upon further research I found out that, one of the dark figures turns out to be a brass band playing the popular “Home Sweet Home” tune of the title? In contrast, the foreground is divided off by the light brown of a hanging cloth which merges into the darker browns of the tents and earth the whole scene seeming to concentrate on two soldiers in blue uniforms. As others have observed and stated it is to be perceived listening to the music. Their thoughts Im sure are of distant homes. But Homer subtly subverts that idea. They gaze down on what has now become their home with their army gear outside a small low tent with a single boot sticking out from the dark interior. I like to appreciate the little details that Homer throws in that make it all that much more realistic like the metal pot steaming away on glowing embers, or the two hard biscuits that lie on a metal plate.
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