|Our Banner in the Sky, 1861, Frederic Edwin Church|
THE CIVIL WAR and AMERICAN ART which will be on view at the MET beginning Memorial Day, May 27th, considers how American artists responded to the Civil War and its aftermath through landscapes and genre scenes which capture the war’s impact on the American psyche. Works by Frederic Edwin Church and Sanford Robinson Gifford’s landscapes and Winslow Homer and Eastman Johnson’s painting of life on the battlefield and home front are spellbinding venues. Church may have created the small-scale work ‘Our Banner in the Sky,’ 1861, in response to the valiant defense of the American flag during the Confederate shelling of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. The artist transformed the evocative sunset into nature’s memorial, the very landscape mourning the dissolution of the Union and the nation---like the edges of the flag—in tatters. The civilian artist-correspondent for Hamper’s Weekly, Winslow Homer visited the Union front several times during the Civil war, making sketches that would serve as reference in painting oils, such as Home Sweet Home (ca.1863). Some bands in the conflict would strike up that melody, ‘Home, Sweet Home,” and every band within hearing would join in that scared anthem.”
PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR featured more than 200 of the finest and most poignant photographs of the American Civil War. The camera recorded from the beginning to the end the heartbreaking narrative of the epic four-year war (1861-1865) in which 750,000 lives were lost. This exhibition explores, through photography, the full pathos of the brutal conflict, which after 150 years still looms large in the American public’s imagination. Included are the intimate studio portraits of armed Confederate soldiers preparing to meet their destiny; battlefield landscapes strewn with human remains,; rare multi-panel panoramas of the killing fields of Gettysburg and destruction Richmond, with ground breaking works by Mathew B. Brady and many other wartime photographers. Through September 2, 2013.
UNICORNS IN MEDIEVAL and RENAISSANCE ART mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of The Cloisters museum and gardens—the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. The exhibition, Search for the Unicorn includes some 40 works of art in diverse media drawn from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, other public institutions and private collections. Among the Museum’s most treasured objects, the seven individual hangings collectively known as the Unicorn Tapestries are the most beautiful and complex works of art surviving from the middle Ages. The magical unicorn continues to inspire with folklore and legend. Beatrix of Aragon presents an image of the unicorn as a metaphor of love and marriage, with the couple’s entwined coats of arms reinforcing the idea of a happy alliance. A pair of unicorns drawing a golden chariot represent Chastity on a Florentine desco da parto, a tray or salver paint in the celebration of the birth of a child. During the opening weeks of the exhibition, a special May-blooming millefleurs planting and a potted display of plants depicted in the tapestries will be featured in the Bonnefont Garden
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