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Thanksgiving Day--Hanging Up the Musket

Winslow Homer

American Art

With the long Civil War finally over, veterans could hang up their guns as trophies of battle. Following some controversy, President Johnson signed a bill in spring 1865 allowing soldiers to retain their firearms, recognizing that ownership of these guns was a source of pride. In this engraving by Winslow Homer, the grandfather’s broken gun of 1776, symbolizing the shattered promises of the Revolutionary War, hangs above the new firearm of the most recent war. The image accompanied an article that declared, "Now we have peace smiling over all the land, and its promise for many years to come."

Regarded as one of the great American Realists of the nineteenth century, Homer is known primarily for his large body of works in oil and watercolor. However, he also had an early career as a freelance illustrator, making drawings for wood engravings that were reproduced in mass-circulation periodicals such as Harper's Weekly. In 1998, the Brooklyn Museum received a generous gift of more than 250 wood-engraved illustrations by Homer from Harvey Isbitts.
MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1865
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 23.5 cm) Frame: 22 3/4 x 16 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (57.8 x 42.5 x 3.8 cm)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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