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The Winter Art Show

June 2023
1min read

We know almost nothing about John A. Mooney. He was born about 1843 and died in Richmond, Virginia, in 1918; he was certainly not a formally trained artist, yet he added something genuinely new to the old and well-tilled field of military art. Mooney served with the Southern forces during the Civil War, and although he came safely through some of its grimmest battles, he was haunted by the conflict for the rest of his life. His very unsettling scene of a Surprise Attack Near Harpers Ferry , done from memory some three years after the war, suggests, as few paintings can, not only the vulnerability of being under fire but the fear and grotesqueness that in war always stand a hairsbreadth away from the sunny, the tranquil, and the mundane.

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