The Civil War redefined America and forever changed American art. The war’s grim reality, captured through the new medium of photography, was laid bare. American artists could not glamorize the hero on the battlefield. Instead, many 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 also used landscape imagery to give voice to their misgivings as well as their hopes for themselves and the nation.
The Civil War and American Art looks at the range of artwork created in the years between 1852 and 1877. Author Eleanor Jones Harvey surveys paintings made by some of America’s finest artists, including Frederic Edwin Church, Sanford Gifford, Winslow Homer, and Eastman Johnson, and photographs taken by George Barnard, Alexander Gardner, and Timothy O’Sullivan.