Winslow Homer: Life and Works

Essay by Kinkyblue4High School, 11th gradeA+, March 2003

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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...