Home » Uncategorized » Snap the Whip (1872) by Winslow Homer (1836-1910)

Snap the Whip (1872) by Winslow Homer (1836-1910)

Because it seems the quintessential embodiment of the American spirit, this painting is one of Winslow Homer’s most discussed and reproduced works.  Winslow Homer was an American landscape painter and printmaker, best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th century America and a preeminent figure in American art.  Largely self-taught, Homer began his career working as a commercial illustrator.  He subsequently took up oil painting and produced major studio works characterized by the weight and density he exploited from the medium. He also worked extensively in watercolor, creating a fluid and prolific oeuvre, primarily chronicling his working vacations.  The first time I ever saw a print of this painting in a magazine, I thought that the building looked like a one-room schoolhouse.  This conclusion was corroborated when I purchased a book Early Schools by Bobbie Kalman which contains a picture of the painting on the page entitled “Hurrah! It’s recess.”  And the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s description of the painting says, “Released from the confines of a one-room schoolhouse, exuberant boys engage in a spirited game.”

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