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Friday, February 26, 2010

The Making of a Masterpiece - 5

The Angel of the Battlefield

Clara Barton with Walt Whitman at Chatham, December 1862



Located in Falmouth on what was called Stafford Heights in Stafford County, the history of the Plantation House is spectacular, as is the view of the river and Fredericksburg. The visitors list itself is awesome. It is the only building ever visited by Washington and Lincoln. Famed Virginia visitors were Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee, and numerous Union generals used it as their headquarters. - Mort Künstler





There were no fewer than twelve hundred men crowded into the rooms of the mansion, with rows more stationed outside on the cold hard ground.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Making of a Masterpiece - 4

The Angel of the Battlefield

Clara Barton with Walt Whitman at Chatham, December 1862



Add a beautiful building and view, and it seemed to me that this painting would almost paint itself. An extra bonus was that while caring for the wounded outside Chatham (there was not room enough inside), she tended to Confederates as well as Union soldiers. All the elements were there. The key was in the composition so that I could tell the story. – Mort Künstler


Mort has drawn his composition on the canvas; you can already tell what kind of time of day it will be.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Making of a Masterpiece 3

The Angel of the Battlefield

Clara Barton with Walt Whitman at Chatham, December 1862



What intrigued me, as an idea for a painting, was that after the battle of Fredericksburg, the building was used as a hospital, and that both Clara Barton and Walt Whitman were there at the same time! What an opportunity; to paint Clara Barton, the icon of American nursing, and Walt Whitman, an icon of American Literature! – Mort Künstler


After Mort has settled on the composition, he draws on a brown piece of paper to help him mark where the lighting effects would be.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Making of a Masterpiece - 2

The Angel of the Battlefield

Clara Barton with Walt Whitman at Chatham, December 1862


Following the Battle of Fredericksburg in December of 1862, Clara Barton tended to hundreds of wounded men at a field hospital that had been established at the Lacy House, also known as Chatham.






You can see that Mort is finalizing his concept. At this point he has a better idea as to what the painting will look like.



Monday, February 22, 2010

The Making of a Masterpiece - 1

The Angel of the Battlefield

Clara Barton with Walt Whitman at Chatham, December 1862


I knew of Chatham. I saw it from Fredericksburg, on the other side of the Rappahannock, but I had never gone there. Also known as the Lacy House during the Civil War, I finally had a chance to visit the National Park Service site last year and was immediately taken with its beauty, location and history. – Mort Künstler



Mort draws preliminary sketches trying to come up with his concept, and the right angle and perspective. Some of these drawings may be as small as six inches in width.

 

All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Knstler, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright 2001-2011. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.