ABOUT THIS PIECE:
Mort Künstler’s Comments:
After reading the four volumes of Robert E. Lee's biography by Douglas Southall Freeman, I was captured by the incident at Sayler's Creek during the last days of the war. It was the only time during the four years of fighting that Lee actually picked up a battle flag and rallied troops around him to prevent the complete rout of the army. It was a scene I had to paint.
I wanted the viewer to capture the essence of the painting immediately. By placing Lee facing to the left and the army retreating to the right, the opposing elements of the painting were set to tell the story. By taking my viewpoint, I was able to have the viewer looking southwest where the sun was setting. This gave me the chance to position Lee in front of the sun, creating a bright spot around him, which instantly draws the viewer to the center of interest. It also gave me the chance to paint a dramatic sunset sky since it had rained earlier.
The soldiers are recognizing Lee and swinging around to see the great man up close. One reaches out to touch his horse, as they often did when he was near. The poses are created by my putting myself into each person and thinking what he might be thinking, doing and saying.
The dead limbs of the trees are put in to add to the atmosphere of death and destruction, as well as to act as pointers to the center of interest, General Lee. The mud and dirt, and the discarded accoutrements add to the feeling of despair.
I tried to capture this moment of a great man, who by shear willpower and determination, stopped an army that had become nothing more than a retreating mob. I will be more than satisfied if some of this emotion has been passed on to the viewer.
Image size: 28 x 18
Limited Edition: 810/1000
Certificate of Authenticity MAY BE INCLUDED--LOOKING FOR IT
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