Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Snap the Whip

Artist:
Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine)
Date:
1872
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
12 x 20 in. (30.5 x 50.8 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Christian A. Zabriskie, 1950
Accession Number:
50.41
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 763
Children were depicted by many artists and writers during the 1870s as embodiments of innocence and the promise of America’s future. An image such as this one would have evoked nostalgia for the nation’s agrarian past, as the population shifted to cities and the little red one-room schoolhouse faded from memory. Released from their lessons, eight exuberant boys engage in a spirited game. Their bare feet signal the freedom of childhood, and the game, which requires teamwork, strength, and calculation, may have alluded to the challenges faced by the reunited republic.
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