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Searchlight on Harbor Entrance, Santiago de Cuba

Artist:
Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine)
Date:
1901
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
30 1/2 x 50 1/2 in. (77.5 x 128.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of George A. Hearn, 1906
Accession Number:
06.1282
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 767
In September 1901 a court of inquiry was convened to determine which of two commanders deserved credit for America’s decisive victory in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, during the Spanish-American-Cuban War of 1898. In response to the newsworthy event, Homer painted this image of Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, known as Morro Castle, with the aid of recent press accounts and drawings he had made on a visit to the island in early 1885. Homer’s emphasis on the powerful searchlight, which had been used in the blockade of the Spanish fleet, suggests his awareness of the military importance of electricity during the war as well as its significance as a symbol of modernity.
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