The Civil War and American Art considers how American artists responded to the Civil War and its aftermath. Landscapes and genre scenes—more than traditional history paintings—captured the war’s impact on the American psyche. The exhibition traces the trajectory of the conflict: unease as war became inevitable, optimism that a single battle might end the struggle, growing realization that fighting would be prolonged, enthusiasm and worries alike surrounding emancipation, and concerns about how to reunify the nation after a period of grievous division. The exhibition proposes significant new readings of many familiar masterworks—some 60 paintings and 18 photographs created between 1852 and 1877—including landscapes by Frederic Edwin Church and Sanford Robinson Gifford, paintings of life on the battlefront and the home front by Winslow Homer and Eastman Johnson, and photographs by Timothy H. O’Sullivan and George N. Barnard.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Website