Winslow Homer


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Winslow Homer (24.02.1836 – 29.09.1910) was an American painter who is best known for his marine and landscape paintings, as well as his illustrations and engravings.

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Winslow Homer was born in Boston, studied with a lithographer and then at night school at the National Academy of Arts in New York. During the Civil War of 1861-1865, Homer was a war artist and illustrator, submitting his sketches to weeklies.

Participation in military operations and personal observations left a deep truth in his painting “Prisoners from the Front” (1866, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art). With the bright specificity of individual characters, the artist achieves integrity and monumentality of the overall solution of the composition.

Painting by Winslow Homer "A Gust of Wind". In a sailing boat tilted under a gust of wind, a fisherman and three boys, having moved to one side, are trying to restore balance. Written in the same year as Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, this painting conveys the feeling of happiness inherent in childhood, the atmosphere of a fresh summer day. This mood is typical of Homer's works of the mid-19th century. The work of this artist is not without reason considered the most striking embodiment of the life of rural America in the 1860s-1870s.

Along with Thomas Eakins, who also faithfully depicted everyday life, Winslow Homer is considered the leading representative of the American realistic style. In subsequent paintings, Homer, carried away by the poetry of peaceful everyday life, truthfully and sincerely displays its various sides. The ethical significance of the images, attention to the plastic elaboration of the form, accurate confident drawing, cold silvery coloring characterize the paintings “Country School” (early 1870s, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art), “Lunch Hour” (1870, Detroit, Institute of Arts ). Homer's art reaches its peak during his work in the Bahamas, where, among the wild northern nature, he found new heroes - brave people living in a constant struggle for existence. Faith in a working man, romanticization and glorification of his image bring the art of the painter Winslow Homer closer to the poetry of Walt Whitman.

One of the main themes that Homer addressed most often in his work, one might even say, one of the main characters on his canvases, was the sea. Rocky shores, fishing boats, breathtaking sunsets, the eternal duality of the sea, which is both a breadwinner and an enemy, the wildness of the elements and the insignificance of a person in front of her - all this is in Homer's paintings. He sometimes actually immersed his sitters, whom the artist depicted in marine scenes, in water in order to more accurately depict wet clothes stuck to the body. Maritime themes become dominant in Homer's paintings in the last years of his life.

The painter died in 1910 in his studio in Prouts Neck. Although already in the 1890s the artist Homer received wide recognition and his work was sold for a lot of money, the news of his death went almost unnoticed, and real recognition of his artistic achievements came only after his death. In the early 21st century, the Portland Museum of Art bought Homer's studio home in Prouts Neck and restored it. The house was opened to the public in 2012.

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