Kirk Savage (Professor of Art History, University of Pittsburgh)
December 4, 2012
The unprecedented scale of the U.S. Civil War, both in its massive mobilization and in its terrible human cost, presented a tremendous challenge to visual artists who had never experienced anything like this before and had few if any visual models to imitate. Winslow Homer was perhaps the most important and innovative “delineator” of the war. Working initially as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly, he started by producing conventional images of heroic battle but soon developed a new vocabulary for visualizing the strange new realities of modern warfare.