Saturday, July 07, 2007

07/08 Academic Decathlon Art Selection #5

This is the Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1900, a patinated plaster work of art, through the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. This really goes along with the book I've been Reading "Rebel Private: Front and Rear" by William A. Fletcher. It is one of the few authentic memoirs of a Confederate Soldier. The book has been quite interesting - his language is stiff and formal and seems to be missing a lot of the English conventions such as prepositions and punctuation at appropriate places! I still have not quite gotten used to it, though there is enough language to understand the gist of what he went through. Oh my gosh - what hardships the soldiers, both Rebel and Union, went through. Plundering whatever surrounding area they found themselves in for rations, usable horses and miscellaneous supplies. Anyone else's needs were not important in their eyes, and I just have a hard time imagining people of our own land busting in and taking all of my valuables and resources for basic survival. He was wounded several times, recouperated and then hustled back to the front line of the conflict. Not a long book, though NOT an easy read, you may borrow it if you like. It's an interesting bird's eye view of the civil war.
Back to the Shaw Monument - let me know what you can find out about it! The gold patina over the plaster is a cost efficient way to make a fancy looking monument. What do you think?

1 comment:

KC said...

-Took August St. Gaudens over a dozen years to create.

- started as a single statue of colonel shaw on a horse, like most military statues, but the idea of a white commander followed by an army of black soldiers seemed a lot more appropriate for the cause.

-The Massachusettes fifty fourth was an all african american regiment. The regiment is most well known for it's successful attack on Fort Wagner in south carolina, which was a bastion of confederate secession.

-the battle was considered by lincoln as a turning point in the war.

-Prejudices against african americans had led many at the time to think that blacks lacked military discipline.

- frederick douglas's own sons were in the regiment.

-Robert Gould Shaw, son of two prominent abolitionists from Boston, was recruited as the regiment's officer because military policy forbid an african american to serve as officers.

-Fort Wagner was an important, seemingly invincible fortification gaurding the strategic harbor of Charleston.