Learn about the Civil War through the art of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Winslow Homer in this video from Picturing America on Screen. Saint-Gaudens's Robert Shaw Memorial in Boston Common depicts a resonant, courageous act of the Civil War, in which the first regiment of African American soldiers recruited in the North for the Union Army fought a doomed battle on a South Carolina fortress.
The Winslow Homer image of a soldier returning to his farm after the Civil War in The Veteran in a New Field refers to both the desolation of war and the country’s hope for the future. While the farmer’s scythe called to mind the bloodiest battles fought—and lives lost—in fields of grain, the bountiful crop of golden wheat could also be seen as a Christian symbol of salvation.
Picturing America is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, carried out in partnership with the American Library Association, which provides an innovative way to experience America’s history through our nation’s art. Visit the Picturing America website to learn more. For more videos like this, visit Picturing America on Screen.