From the Archives

Prisoners from the Front

Posted 1/23/2012 By Laura June Davis

Before Winslow Homer became a famed sea-scape painter, he was a Civil War correspondent and illustrator for Harpers Weekly. The above paiting, entitled "Prisoners from the Front," (1866) was featured in an online Wall Street Journal article today entitled, "It's History (Believe It or Not)." The article provided the following description of the painting:

The material that Homer collected as an artist-correspondent during the Civil War provided the subjects for his first oil paintings. In 1866, one year after the war ended and four years after he reputedly began to paint in oil, Homer completed this picture, a work that established his reputation. It represents an actual scene from the war in which a Union officer, Brigadier General Francis Channing Barlow (1834–1896), captured several Confederate officers on June 21, 1864. The background depicts the battlefield at Petersburg, Virginia. Infrared photography and numerous studies indicate that the painting underwent many changes in the course of completion.


Image Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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