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The Spectacular Artistry of the U.S. Civil War

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  • Stephen Vincent Benét (1898 - 1943)
    American muse, whose strong and diverse heart  So many men have tried to understand  But only made it smaller with their art  Because you are as various as your land ... ...
  • Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)
    In 1889, when Whitman was trying to recover from the last stroke, which would eventually kill him, he was visited by Horace Traubel and Tom Harned, who noticed the famous photograph of Whitman and Doyl...

This sub-project deals with the artistry of the U.S. Civil War--a project about Civil War related arts, photography and the poetry of Stephen Vincent Benet and Walt Whitman; let's not forget the novelists and especially Matthew Brady's pictures of the War!

Photography

Mathew Brady Civil War Officer Photographs

Mathew B. Brady Collection of Civil War Photographs

Mathew B. Brady coordinated a team of photographers to help him document the Civil War, resulting in over 5,600 portraits, landscapes, and battle scenes.

Description

Mathew B. Brady was already a well-known photographer when the Civil War began. He had studied under Samuel F. B. Morse and Louis Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotypy process. He opened a studio on Broadway in New York City in 1851, and another in Washington, DC, in 1856. He became famous for photographing notables, including presidents, generals, authors, and tycoons. His talent, combined with his early exposure to politics and the nation's capital, placed him in the right place at the right time when the war started in 1861.

Although Brady was known primarily as a portrait photographer in his early career, he had the foresight to understand the power of the camera in documenting an event as visually all-consuming as war. He coordinated a corps of photographers to work for him and document the war by taking the camera on the road. For the first time, the landscapes and horrors of battle could be seen anywhere, by anyone, with full comprehension that the images were very real.

The photos in this collection, taken by Brady and his crew of the decade's best photographers, are of battlefields, soldiers and officers, the living and the dead, scarred landscapes, and cities burned and bombed by invading troops. They portray the horrors of war's carnage and give us our only clear images of life in camp. When Brady displayed photos of the corpses at Antietem in his New York gallery, the shock reverberated through the north as words never could.

Through his work during the Civil War, Brady is sometimes referred to as the father of photojournalism. Others contributing to this collection are Timothy H O'Sullivan and Alexander Gardner, talented photographers in their own right. It is often their photographs that are attributed to Brady and ultimately helped make him famous.

Here are a few unsubstantiated quotes discovered while researching this publication.

Brady: "The camera is the eye of history."

Lincoln: "Make no mistake, gentlemen, Brady made me President!"

Poetry

Novelists

Arts

Architecture