Recognition:North and South (1865)ConstantMayer Constant Mayer’s oil painting “Recognition: North andSouth” portrays a wounded Union soldier in the foreground and a confederatesoldier with a bandage on his head kneeling beside him with a concernedexpression on his face. The Union soldier is lying against a rock with a treestump, and in the background are trees and mountains.
Beside the soldiers is anold-fashioned rifle, indicating that the scene is taking place in the 19thcentury. Aerial perspective, shading, and overlapping create depth. There istexture in the clothing, the rocks, the foliage, the hair, and the skin. Thecolors primarily used are blue, grey, and green; and overall, they are bleak andunsaturated colors. There is implied line in the line of sight of the soldiersand the boundaries of objects. The piece achieves unity through the use of three maincolors.
There is a variety of different textures used, such as cloth, foliage,rock, and skin. The focal point of the painting is the Union soldier, as it islocated at the center of the picture frame and the confederate soldier’s gazeis directed at him, meaning it has emphasis. Movement is created in the posesof the soldiers and the way that the Confederate soldier’s hair is being blownby the wind. There is repetition of the colors green, blue, and grey and thetextures of rocks and foliage. There is asymmetrical balance in the piecebecause the soldiers are positioned in the center. The scene depicts two soldiers from opposing sides, yetthe Confederate soldier is clearly saddened by the death of the Union soldier.The Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars in American history, and at thattime many of the soldiers had to face their own brothers in battle. TheConfederate soldier is coming to terms with the fact that he lost someone whohe cared about because of the war, and even though he is supposed to befighting against the Union soldiers, he casts this aside in a moment of grief.
Thereis a feeling of sadness to the painting – an event tragic enough to make aConfederate soldier mourn over a Union soldier. The message of the piece isthat blood is thicker than water. The Confederate soldier and the Union soldierallowed themselves to split apart because of their political beliefs. Now, theConfederate soldier is beginning to realize that although his side may have wonthe battle, he lost something irreplaceable in the process.