What is Blackboard for Homer?

Blackboard is a painting made by famous American landscape painter and print maker Winslow Homer, who is regard as a creator of a bright, modern and ancient American style. The themes of his paintings ranged from heroic quality expressed in possible invincible obstacles for man, friendship between soldiers or workers to some helplessness situation towards the others. Since there was not art lesson in HarvardUniversity at that time, Homer did not do as his older brother Charles (who was studying there) does. Thus Homer’s father found a work as an assistant in the trade of making and preparing pictures for printed media, where Homer received the only formal training in his career. After two years he tried to be an independent illustrator and did work it out.

The Blackboard was one of his early works from the period that he was an illustrator which lasted nearly twenty years. The simplified form contained a clear figure, a blackboard, a wall and floor. A bright, lively figure was created in clean outlines. It was a girl with a classic chignon together with a pink, butterfly hairpin. She was standing in front of a blackboard which was full with various geometric figures. Two rest chalks were there. The girl turned herself and put her left hand back, right the front. She might just wait for someone outside the room to explaining for his late for lesson. The wall of the room was in an earthly yellow but the part under the blackboard was grey. The color of the floor was lighter than the wall while the girl’s dress was less grey than the grey part. This contrast of light and dark had made a dramatic expression that we can found in almost all Homer’s paintings.

Blackboard itself could be an expression about Homer’s art training by his mother or his first working place.

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