Watching the Shot - a painting by Winslow Homer

Scientific Evidence: Infrared Imaging

Watching the Shot

Infrared Imaging of Watching the Shot

Fig. 4-2: Detail of infrared photographic image made by the Ford
Conservation Center, part of the Nebraska Historical Society.

Infrared images were made by the Ford Conservation Center, part of the Nebraska Historical Society in Omaha, Nebraska. Similar to the results of the x-radiograph, infrared images taken across the surface of the painting reveal that the under drawing matches almost exactly with the painting. The only exceptions noted were again the added horseman and general along with the tighter grouping of the soldiers in the water. Infrared did not reveal any foreground drawing, which was typical for Homer to add this last to his Civil War era paintings, apparently preferring to paint this free hand. Infrared more clearly shows the under drawing of the faces and seem to confirm the suspicion that Homer used some live models to paint the faces. Infrared reveals unique facial characteristics for most of the soldiers in the forefront in the water. The intensity of their faces were roughed in with the under drawing but further enhanced and brought out with paint. Sometimes, Homer used mannequins to draw in body shapes and live models to add realistic facial images.

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