The Norman Transcript

University

March 11, 2014

Art historian’s lecture visualizes Civil War

NORMAN — Images of boats serenely floating in the great Pacific quickly changed to dark storm clouds expressing fear, turmoil and conflict as John Wilmerding, American art professor at Princeton University, flipped through a slide show during his talk “Visualizing the Civil War: Three American Artists” at the University of Oklahoma event “Teach-In” on Monday.

OU’s Teach-In is a celebration of and commitment to teaching American history. This year’s event focused on the Civil War and featured lectures from top historians on this crucial period of turmoil in American history.

Wilmerding began his lecture by comparing artwork produced during the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. Paintings from the Revolutionary War depicted violence and the action of war while those produced during the Civil War have all action outside the frame of reference.

“There are no scenes of outright action,” Wilmerding explained while turning his slideshow presentation to the image of soldiers standing in a group and to another image of a soldier sitting in a tree preparing to shoot. “The moment itself is not there.”

Wilmerding said he believed paintings from the Civil War do not focus on the action as the subject matter for three reasons. The first reason being the cultural response to the turmoil of the Civil War was largely depicted in literature. The memoir and the autobiography became the major outlet for expression, he said.

The second reason Wilmerding said he believed paintings from the late 1850s and ‘60s do not depict war action is because photography had just been introduced to the country. The Civil War was the first opportunity photographers had the chance to take photos. Thirdly, Wilmerding said the American landscape itself had become the new image of American identity. Nature was articulated as the great American experience and a continental idea, he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
University
  • Sam Noble museum welcomes Oklahoma Storytellers

    From Sept. 19-21, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History visitors can share their museum experiences with StoryCorps, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving and sharing stories of people from all ...

    July 31, 2014

  • OU officials confirm student died in car wreck

    University of Oklahoma officials confirmed Tuesday that recent car wreck victim Taylor Witcher was an OU student in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Witcher died after a three-car collision around 12:35 a.m. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Union Market 9 Union Market opens this fall on campus

    Shelves are being stocked as employees buzz around like busy bees and activities are in the last stages of prep as the University of Oklahoma anticipates the opening of its new eatery Union Market, located in the Oklahoma Memorial Union in ...

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • OU physicist receives $1M grant

    A University of Oklahoma physicist has received a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to develop a quantum enhanced plasmonic sensor. The emerging field of physics known as quantum plasmonics will enable technology for sensing ...

    July 26, 2014

  • OU awarded Mellon Grant

    The University of Oklahoma has been awarded a $572,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the development of a digital library of Latin texts of all eras. The Digital Latin Library — a Linked Open Data resource — represents a ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Solar cars 7 Solar cars use Norman area during pit stop

    Flat, low to the ground with reflective panels and bright colors, these moving vehicles look more like cartoon spaceships than solar race cars. But these funny looking cars represent exactly what the American Solar Challenge (ASC) ...

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Digital storytelling workshop to help tornado victims

    Looking for ways to make use of the University of Oklahoma Writing Center’s services in the community, the center has developed the digital storytelling workshop “Survivors in Motion” to help last year’s tornadoes survivors....

    July 16, 2014

  • Free concert to feature Corey Smith

    Corey Smith, born and raised in Jefferson, Ga., will heat up the summer scene with a free concert at 8 p.m. on July 18 at the University of Oklahoma....

    July 11, 2014

  • OU showcases family treasures exhibit

    An exhibit consisting of 12 panels with the best practices on how to care for items — including textiles and recordings such as cassettes and family videos — is on display through July 10 in Beaird Lounge on the second floor of Oklahoma ...

    July 9, 2014

  • Sam Noble Museum awarded reaccreditation

    The American Alliance of Museums in Washington D.C. awarded the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History reaccreditation in 2014 for the fourth consecutive time. Accreditation offers a wide variety of benefits, including increased ...

    July 5, 2014