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The Songs of the War

Winslow Homer

American Art

With the war only seven months old, hopes were still running high that a quick Union victory was within reach. One sees these enthusiastic sentiments in the depictions of Homer’s figures. The largest amount of space in this image was given to “Glory Hallelujah,” the popular refrain from the song “John Brown’s Body,” to which so many of the Union soldiers marched. (Shortly after Homer’s illustration appeared, “John Brown’s Body” was given new words and renamed “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”) Homer made this illustration in autumn 1861, when there was discussion in the press about a national hymn appropriate to the tenor of the times.

MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1861
DIMENSIONS Image: 13 7/8 x 20 1/8 in. (35.2 x 51.1 cm) Sheet: 16 x 22 1/4 in. (40.6 x 56.5 cm) Frame: 22 3/4 x 28 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (57.8 x 73 x 3.8 cm)
COLLECTIONS American Art
ACCESSION NUMBER 1998.105.63
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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