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The great American artist Winslow Homer concluded the icon oil painting entitled Country School, also known as A Country School-room in the Catskills and New England Country School, in 1871. During this period, the artist’s primary subject in his artwork mainly involved the farm life, with bright and optimistic scenes of rural America. Homer focused on women in leisure, young couples engaging in conversation, as well as children playing. This particular painting was purchased by the Saint Louis Art Museum.
In Country School, Homer depicted a typical classroom scene, more than two decades after Massachusetts passed the compulsory education law. The law required parents to send their children from the ages eight to fourteen to school, and they had to attend for twelve weeks per year – with six weeks being consecutive. The schools were structured with one classroom for many ages, and separating boys and girls on each side of the room. In this case, the boys sat on the left while the girls sit on the right of the canvas, while the teacher stands in the middle reading along with the class. To the right, a small boy sits on the wrong side, next to a girl – possibly because the two children sitting on the bench are siblings, therefore, having the share their book. The toddler cries, holding his hand up to his face, while his sister looks at him.
The books held by the children and teacher are probably McGuffey Readers, popular textbooks used in the American school system during the mid-XIX century and can be found till this day. Homer used a warm color palette, creating a welcoming environment. The painting was done with precise realism, capturing the essence of each figure, the perspective, as well as the textures of the different surfaces, like the fabrics and wood details.
There are three visible windows in the composition that create various light sources, and Homer portrayed thin curtains over them, carefully placing the shadows created by the windows. The green grass seen outside complements the red tonalities of the overall painting and gives a more natural touch to the scene. Except for the two siblings on the right, all of the children are very concentrated on their lesson, carefully following along each word in their textbook.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Country School, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Country School that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.
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