I am going to attempt something new. I have a friend who posts a new menu idea every Monday, and she calls it Menu Idea Monday. After watching the video to Some Nights by Fun, I managed to get the itch to write about the Civil War. So I’m going to attempt to have Civil War Wednesdays. I could post about almost anything as long as it has a connection to the War. I could post about a battle one week and then fashion the next week. I could even go so far as to posting about the latest Civil War book that I’ve read. You just never know. My first Civil War Wednesday post is going to be about some of my favorite artists who do a lot of paintings on this topic.
John Paul Strain is my very favorite artist due to his incredible talent. There are some pictures that when I look at them I squint my eyes because it feels like the sun from the picture is glaring into them. The following images are from the internet so they won’t do them justice, but you should hopefully get a good idea what I’m talking about.
Yes, this is a painting. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Is it amazing or what? This one is “Rose Hill Raid” where Major John S. Mosby is seen after his daring raid, through Federal lines, where he ended up capturing the Virginia governor’s military aide, Colonel Dulany. The original target had been the governor himself, but when Mosby arrived to take him prisoner the governor had already left for Washington. As it turns out, Colonel Dulany’s son was riding with Mosby and helped to take his father prisoner.
Here’s another gorgeous one where he really knows how to play with the light in the picture. “The Gathering Storm” shows General Robert E. Lee as he makes his way along the Orange Plank road towards Fredericksburg. There he would end up causing Federal General Ambrose Burnside to hesitate too long, which resulted in yet another horrible defeat dealt to the Union. Lee’s 75,000 troops held the high ground as Burnside sent his 120,000 against the fortified heights, but it was to no avail. Burnside would then be replaced by General Joseph Hooker that spring.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also add a picture with my dearest Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. This is “Beside Still Waters” which shows Jackson alone, praying for guidance from the Lord. In the Shenandoah Valley at the beginning of the war Jackson was in charge of training part of the army to prepare them for battle. Jackson always found solace in his faith and you can feel the peacefulness in this picture.
My next favorite artist is Mort Kunstler. I can’t tell you for sure why I enjoy his art. There’s just something about it that touches me. Maybe it’s the softness that I feel from his paintings. Also, they put out a calendar every winter with his paintings and I really enjoy them. It makes his art accessible for me since I can’t afford any of the real stuff.
“Chamberlain’s Charge” is one of my favorite Kunstler paintings. My first trip to Gettysburg I bought the poster and framed it. Until I moved this past fall this poster hung by my bed so that I could look at it when laying down. This depicts Chamberlain’s valiant charge down Little Round Top after realizing that he couldn’t hold his position. His men were almost out of ammunition and were exhausted since they had marched all day to get to Gettysburg. This move helped to save the Union line from being flanked on July 2, 1863.
Here is another of my dearest Jackson. “Divine Guidance” was actually inspired by a scene in the movie Gods and Generals. Jackson has just been informed that a local little girl, whom he became very good friends with while he was camped outside of Chancellorsville, has passed away from illness. Jackson had doted on this little girl and it as almost as if he was giving her the attention that he would have given his own daughter, if there hadn’t been a war and he had been able to be home.
“The Generals Were Brought to Tears” depicts a church service that Lee and Jackson attended together in Fredericksburg. They were so moved by the Rev. Lacy’s words that they were brought to tears. I love this painting because it shows the devotion to their faith that kept these men going, despite the long odds that they faced. Despite the fact that the South lost the war, it had some very great men on its side whom I really admire.
There are many more painters who have chosen the Civil War as their main inspiration; Dale Gallon, Bradley Schmehl, Keith Rocco, and many more. If you have a moment take a look at their work. It’s their way of paying tribute to the men who gave the last great devotion to their cause and what they believed in. It’s part of our history, and whether you agree with it or not, those men deserve to be remembered for ever.