Print Сite this

“A Visit from the Old Mistress” by Winslow Homer

The painting by Winslow Homer called A Visit from the Old Mistress was created about ten years later after the end of the American Civil War. The painting is one of the most famous works of art in the United States and the world in general. It depicted a scene relevant to the period when it was painted.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

This work had been widely discussed by the critics attempting to interpret its meaning. It is fair to note that the composition and the theme of this painting are similar to those of another work by Homer, and that is why the discussion emerged.

Created in 1876, A Visit from the Old Mistress depicts a group of former slaves facing the woman who used to be their owner, and that way, the name of the painting speaks for itself. The dynamics between the figures in the painting reflect the tension between the two communities as the representatives of a powerful and wealthy white community and frustrated, devastated, and the neglected African-American community.

Both sides are united by the same issue as their places, and future in the American society is rather undefined. However, it is obvious from the painting that one aspect remained the same as it was before the Civil War – the formerly enslaved African-Americans continued to be exploited as the cheap labor force, and their poverty and powerlessness also remained in place.

One of the most frequently noticed special features of A Visit from the Old Mistress is its similarity to another painting by Homer called Prisoners from the Front. This painting belonged to an earlier time and was created right after the Civil War. It depicts a group of Confederate soldiers captured by a Union Officer Barlow.

The compositions of the two paintings are remarkably alike as both of them include five main figures, one of whom is juxtaposed to the others. The mistress and Officer Barlow are the sole characters that stand out. The tension repeats itself in both works. The sole figures represent a side with better advantages, their postures indicate pride and the perception of individual privilege over the other characters.

However, the social dynamics are reversed as the proponents of slavery are the majority in Prisoners from the Front, whereas, in A Visit from an Old Mistress, the opposition to slavery is represented by four figures. The groups of four in both paintings can be generally characterized as prisoners.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

This description is literal in the painting with all male characters and is figurative in that with just female figures. It seems that the author of both works attempted to demonstrate the social situation in the world in two different periods. That way, Prisoners from the Front shows what the dynamics were like right after the Civil War, and A Visit from the Old Mistress depicts how the situation shifted in a decade.

According to the compositions of the two paintings, one may notice that even though the privileged representatives of the American South were defeated during the Civil War, the time showed that their overall superiority remained the same in the long term.

The same paradox happened to the African-American community who supposedly were granted freedom but, in reality, continued to function as the poor and neglected secondary class of the society with the same status and attitude that left no doubt that they still were slaves.

Cite this paper

Select style

Reference

StudyCorgi. (2020, May 3). “A Visit from the Old Mistress” by Winslow Homer. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/a-visit-from-the-old-mistress-by-winslow-homer/

Reference

StudyCorgi. (2020, May 3). “A Visit from the Old Mistress” by Winslow Homer. https://studycorgi.com/a-visit-from-the-old-mistress-by-winslow-homer/

Work Cited

"“A Visit from the Old Mistress” by Winslow Homer." StudyCorgi, 3 May 2020, studycorgi.com/a-visit-from-the-old-mistress-by-winslow-homer/.

1. StudyCorgi. "“A Visit from the Old Mistress” by Winslow Homer." May 3, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/a-visit-from-the-old-mistress-by-winslow-homer/.


Bibliography


StudyCorgi. "“A Visit from the Old Mistress” by Winslow Homer." May 3, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/a-visit-from-the-old-mistress-by-winslow-homer/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2020. "“A Visit from the Old Mistress” by Winslow Homer." May 3, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/a-visit-from-the-old-mistress-by-winslow-homer/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2020) '“A Visit from the Old Mistress” by Winslow Homer'. 3 May.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.