In “The Veteran in a New Field” (1865), painted only a few months after the Civil War, the artist Winslow Homer evoked the complex mood of the United States as it embarked on reunification.

One of my favorite notable paintings is called The Veteran in a New Field (1865), painted by American artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910). According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the artwork was painted “through the summer and fall of 1865.” The painting depicts a symbolic Union veteran who returns back to being a farmer after many battles of the Civil War.

What I admire most about the figure in this painting is his ability to move forward after enduring the ravages of War, by working and cultivating a new life; evidenced by the abundant harvest. The painting also eloquently illustrates our mortality as the summer relinquishes its fruits and life.

This gripping artwork affords me a metaphorical lesson that can be applied to my recent fight against cancer. Despite the visible scars, along with the coexisting veiled cancerous wounds, I am the undeserving recipient of a new redemptive life: engraved by new insights and perspectives. Like the Union veteran in the painting, I’m driven by a new internal flame to work hard and cultivate a new life. Although the abundant reaping may not be in the form of material goods, it will, however, transform me from a wounded soldier to a renewed harvester.




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