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The Cock Fight

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

Homer’s Cock Fight pictures the dramatic moment immediately following a young rooster’s conquest of an older, fully plumed foe. Feathers cover the ground and fresh blood spatters the plaster wall behind them. The artist captured this subject while visiting Cuba—where cockfighting was a notable feature of the island’s colonial culture—but he omits any sign of the blood sport’s wider arena. Gamecocks were typically "matched" by weight, but not so here. Could Homer have intended the watercolor to symbolize the power struggle over Cuban independence? Works like this one may have been deliberately ambiguous, given the colony’s fraught political situation, then a prominent issue of debate in the United States.

The Cock Fight, Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Watercolor and graphite on wove paper, American

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