Prisoners from the Front (1866) by Winslow Homer

Prisoners from the Front - Winslow Homer - 1866

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Artwork Information

TitlePrisoners from the Front
ArtistWinslow Homer
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions60.96 x 96.52 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, US

About Prisoners from the Front

The artwork “Prisoners from the Front,” created by the esteemed artist Winslow Homer in 1866, is an oil on canvas reflecting the Realism art movement. Its dimensions are 60.96 by 96.52 centimeters. This genre painting, which is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection in New York City, NY, US, captures a poignant moment from the historical context of the American Civil War.

The artwork depicts a scene of the Civil War where a Union officer, possibly a general given his authoritative stance and the respect accorded by his subordinates, confronts three Confederate prisoners. The Union officer stands to the right, his posture upright, exuding a sense of dominance and control; he holds a sword in his left hand and his right hand rests confidently on his hip. In contrast, the captured Confederate soldiers exhibit varied expressions and postures, suggesting a mix of resignation, defiance, and weariness.

The figures are set against a backdrop that hints at the aftermath of battle; the barren landscape strewn with detritus and the diffused, overcast sky create an atmosphere of quiet tension. Further in the background, ranks of Union soldiers on horseback stand at attention, forming a solemn audience to the scene unfolding in the foreground. The artwork, through its realistic portrayal and attention to detail, invites viewers to contemplate the somber realities of war and the human condition in such extreme circumstances.

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