Friday, November 11, 2011

The Making of "...How Real Soldiers Live" - Final

“…How Real Soldiers Live”
Jackson and Lee, Moss Neck, December 25, 1862

This painting can be considered a prequel to the painting “Merry Christmas, General Lee” in which General Robert E. Lee is riding away from the famous Corbin family estate of Moss Neck. On Christmas night, as guests arrived for a party at the mansion, Lee was leaving the small office building of the grand estate where he had attended a Christmas dinner at the invitation of Stonewall Jackson.

“I always wanted to do a painting of that dinner, but could not bear to do a totally indoor scene for my annual winter snow print. After years of trying to come up with a composition that would say ‘snow’ and ‘Christmas dinner,’ I finally composed this painting. It was inspired by the single paragraph in Douglas Southall Freeman’s monumental biography of Robert E. Lee.

My idea was to capture the viewer in an emotional moment. I decided to contrast the cold loneliness of the sentry peering in the window, to the warm convivial atmosphere of the party going on inside. I also used a cool color palette for the outside of the building and, quite naturally, the warm colors at the opposite end of the spectrum for the interior scene. Making the sentry large emphasized the story of the different circumstances of the officers and the sentry. I tried to depict the private as perhaps envious, but in awe of getting this close private view of the two great Confederate generals. It also gave me an opportunity to show them as smiling and very human. In my quest for a new and different look, I also decided on a vertical composition.”
-Mort Kunstler

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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 2001-2019. 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.