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The Home Guard

Thomas Hicks1863

National Academy of Design

National Academy of Design

This seemingly satirical painting by Thomas Hicks is the only direct representation of the Civil War in James R. Suydam's extensive collection., which he begnested to the National Academy of Design. Notable for its sense of irony, the work shows a Union soldier holding yarn as he woos a young woman under the contemptuous watch of her chaperone, rather than being engaged in the service of his country. Moreover, the soldier is no symbol of virility, with his balding head and slender limbs. The work is more likely a veiled indictment of the Union's poor management of its manpower than a critique of the soldiers themselves.

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