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Crossing the Pasture

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

Children were seen as a poignant symbol of the nation’s future in the years following the Civil War, because of its devastating death toll. Homer was one of many artists and writers, including Mark Twain and Louisa May Alcott, who celebrated the "cult of childhood" in their work. While Homer’s charming vignette commemorates youthful innocence in an idyllic rural landscape, a sense of disquiet seeps into the picture. The figures, standing close together, wear uneasy expressions, with the older boy seeming to serve as a protective presence in relation to his young charge. The source of their apprehension is visible in the distance at left: a bull that seems to have noticed their attempt to traverse the field.

Crossing the Pasture, Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Oil on canvas, American

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