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"Lee's Lieutenants" by Mort Kunstler

Image size: 19 1/2" x 23 1/2"

Edition size: 1750 S/N

Issue price: $200 (SOLD OUT--only available on the secondary market--call for price and availability--800-237-6077)

Years ago I began making notes on interesting pictorial ideas related to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Eventually I painted two series of works - Legends in Gray, featuring Lee and Jackson, and Lee's Lieutenants, featuring the principal officers in Lee's command. This painting, Lee's Lieutenants, could have worked for either series, but I chose to make it the final painting in the series of the same name.

The scene occurred on December 13, 1862, during Lee's defense of Fredericksburg, Virginia. A dense fog hung over the city that morning as Lee moved to confer with his commanders on a hill overlooking the city. Stonewall Jackson attended the meeting in a new uniform, which was a gift from General J.E.B. Stuart. Jackson's devoted soldiers, who were accustomed to Stonewall's worn uniform, were bedazzled by the gold braid and crisp look of the new uniform. They spontaneously broke into wild cheers. It was then, in the words of Douglas Southall Freeman, that "drab daylight began to soften into gold under the rays of a mounting sun." Fredericksburg's church steeples emerged in the distance above the morning mist. It was a lighting effect I had observed myself on visits to Lee's Hill at Fredericksburg - and I was delighted to have an opportunity to paint it.

For the first time since painting I Will be Moving Within the Hour, I was able to paint Lee with Stuart, Jackson and Longstreet. The back view of Lee's troops was chosen deliberately so that no faces are showing, which keeps the focus on the generals. I also wanted to show the respect and affection that Lee's men held for Lee and his commanders. I'm pleased that the painting works so well: it depicts Lee's Lieutenants as they appeared - and the boundless confidence in them held by the average Johnny Reb.

 

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