Jun 112013

The Civil War and American Art .
Eleanor Jones Harvey.
Google Books

I requested this book as a review copy from NetGalley because of my fascination with the Civil War and my love for photography. I must admit I never considered how a painter might interpret current events in landscape paintings. Battle scenes, yes, but not in ‘regular’ landscapes. Looks to be quite interesting.

Book Posts

  • The Civil War and American Art – Eleanor Jones Harvey
  • Vocab: Insouciant – Try to use it nonchalantly
  • Vocab: elided – to leave out of consideration, to omit
  • Vocab: Stint – To Limit or Restrict
  • Enslaving Your Own Children

  • Book Info

    The Civil War and American Art
    by Eleanor Jones Harvey
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    Published: 12/03/2012
    ISBN-10: 0300187335
    ISBN-13: 978-0300187335
    Started: 06/11/2013
    Finished: 07/30/2013
    Source: NetGalley
    Reason: Civil War & Photography always gets my interest
    Format: ebook

    Publisher Synopsis

    The Civil War redefined America and forever changed American art. Its grim reality, captured through the new medium of photography, was laid bare. American artists could not approach the conflict with the conventions of European history painting, which glamorized the hero on the battlefield. Instead, many artists found ways to weave the war into works of art that considered the human narrative—the daily experiences of soldiers, slaves, and families left behind. Artists and writers wrestled with the ambiguity and anxiety of the Civil War and used landscape imagery to give voice to their misgivings as well as their hopes for themselves and the nation.

    This important book looks at the range of artwork created before, during, and following the war, in the years between 1852 and 1877. Author Eleanor Jones Harvey surveys paintings made by some of America’s finest artists, including Frederic Church, Sanford Gifford, Winslow Homer, and Eastman Johnson, and photographs taken by George Barnard, Alexander Gardner, and Timothy H. O’Sullivan.

    Harvey examines American landscape and genre painting and the new medium of photography to understand both how artists made sense of the war and how they portrayed what was a deeply painful, complex period in American history. Enriched by firsthand accounts of the war by soldiers, former slaves, abolitionists, and statesmen, Harvey’s research demonstrates how these artists used painting and photography to reshape American culture. Alongside the artworks, period voices (notably those of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman) amplify the anxiety and dilemmas of wartime America.

    Author Info
    “In landscape paintings during the Civil War years, the skies and geography told a version of the story, bringing together literary metaphor and visual imagery to create a war-inflected layer of meaning. When we consider the literature, speeches, sermons, and letters that invoked stormy weather, volcanic eruptions, and celestial portents to understand the war and all its profound consequences, that imagery gains depth and the paintings’ meaning becomes clearer. Landscape painting thus became the emotional barometer of the mood of the nation.”—Eleanor Harvey

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