Monday, November 2, 2009

Winslow Homer wants us to just smile.

Snap the Whip by Winslow Homer
1872, Oil on Canvas, 22 x 36 in.

First and foremost, who remembers this game? I remember watching people play this, mostly boys, but I was a rather petite little child and playing this game just might have killed me. I avoided dangerous games like dodge ball, so I am sure this was definitely up there on the "No way Jose" list.  This game has been around forever- this and Red Rover are favorite recess games. Just look at the date of this picture, proof that it's been around for at least 100 years. Anyways, I love this picture. Winslow Homer illustrated for Harper's Weekly doing mostly Civil War stuff, but after the war he switched to happier things- like 19th century America, hooray!

Snap the Whip is just so precious. It reminds me of reading Little House on the Prairie during Christmas vacation- just simple and happy times. The little boys have not a care in the world and are just playing a game they love. Homer loved to paint the good 'ol days before the Industrial Revolution. I fear that when I show my kids this picture in many years to come, they will say something like, "You mean these little boys didn't have video games?" I admit, at times it is even hard for me to remember a time without technology, but I do remember dial-up internet- something I am proud of!

All and all, this image is just one of those timeless pieces. From the beautiful detail of the landscape, to the sky that looks like a storm is coming, to the little house in the background, to the little boys cute clothes, and to the little details of the flowers in the grass- this is just plain cute. You can not help but look at this painting and think, "Awww" while smiling. Winslow Homer created a lot of images that evoke a simple smile and THAT is something I can definitely appreciate.

Winslow Homer wants us to just smile.


  1. Are the two kids on the right conjoined twins or are they just really happy to be playing, and perhaps giving a new meaning to, Snap The Whip?

  2. I don't think so, you can kind of see the boy in the back's legs behind the front boys legs. Plus, I have never read any commentary stating otherwise, I think it's just hard to see in the small picture on the site. Plus you're right, it does kind of look like that!

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Actually, this painting is said to represent post Civil War America; North and South, one nation etc.
    The boys hang on to one another, strain to stay connected, run in perfect harmony and fall away, reflecting the acts of soldiers.