Date of Award

6-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

Katherine Hauser

Second Reader

Martha Wiseman

Abstract

James Hope’s 1888 painting After the Battle was his initial composition commemorating the Civil War battle of Antietam. Supposedly based on Hope’s own eyewitness sketches, the painting and its copies have been valued mainly as accurate documentary images. However, After the Battle was an imaginative reconstruction, compiled from multiple sources more than two decades after the war. Hope incorporated specific figures from Alexander Gardner’s photographs of the dead at Antietam into a participatory experience, using the evidence of the photographs to authenticate his panoramic painting of the post-battle landscape. After the Battle was a purposefully retrospective memorial image, one that supported sectional reconciliation in post-Reconstruction America.

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