Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lovell's Study for Surrender at Appomattox

Tom Lovell did several preliminary tonal studies for the Surrender at Appomattox, exploring how best to present this fateful moment of history. The preliminary sketch shows shows the view looking toward the south wall, with (from left to right): Lee, Parker, Grant, and Marshall.

The final painting presents the scene more as a stage set with all the figures arrayed so that we can study their reactions. The moment was described by several people who were there at the scene, and Lovell studied those first-hand accounts when he developed his composition.

Link to First hand historical accounts of the event.


Luca said...

Thanks James, i really Lovell and i find a lot of his art in your works too (infact i love them too :D ). I like how he created two separated areas with the soldier uniforms (the North ones are a dark blue mass and the South ones almost merge with the wall) with the wood on the fireplace linking the two groups. He made a strong statement, i'd say, combining them in this way. Let me see if i did my homeworks right: it's a good example of clustering combined with shape-welding and a live angles (with the last soldier on the right cropped, at least in this image) . :)

James Gurney said...

Steve G. tried to leave the following comment, but Blogger wasn't working right, so I'll post it:

"Must say, on this day following the election, a Civil War image reminds us how old and entrenched the polarizations are in this country. The divisions have always been with us; sometimes near the surface, sometimes underground, but remarkably persistent. Perhaps bringing them fully into the light will one day allow them to heal somewhat. It may take a challenge of common survival to force us to recognize, and express, our fundamental unity.

The tone in this painting is solemn civility and somber order. Those stances were arrived at following profound chaos and violence. We bring our knowledge of what preceded this calm scene -- a four year slaughter -- to our viewing of it. That knowledge is an unpainted element in the painting."

--Thanks, Steve. I think you're right. Lovell had certainly painted the crazy, cruel chaos of Civil War battles, and painting this scene of the attempt at reconciliation must have moved him deeply. I've seen the original of this Lovell painting, and it's an amazing psychological study of the dignity of all the parties that were present at that scene. --James G.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia Wafer said...

Thanks also for the link recounting what happened. Very moving.