Thursday, November 15, 2018

Booknotes: Don Troiani's Civil War Soldiers

New Arrival:
Don Troiani's Civil War Soldiers by Don Troiani, Earl J. Coates, and Michael J. McAfee   (Stackpole, 2017).

During the 1990s, Civil War artwork peaked in popularity alongside book publishing. Art calendars and advertising could be found all over the place and the original oils went for small fortunes. Even before factoring in matte and framing costs, the numbered prints were outside my poor student means. 

One of the biggest figures in this art scene was Don Troiani, recognized for his battle scenes along with his exhaustively researched and intricately detailed individual officer and soldier portrayals on canvas. A new collection of the latter (27 Confederate. and 22 Union) are featured in Don Troiani's Civil War Soldiers [see the table of contents at the title link above for a complete list].

The range of soldier and officer subjects is impressive—with the three major branches (infantry, cavalry, and artillery) and regulars, volunteers, militia, USCT, specialist and support troops, colorbearers, and more all represented. The large-dimension volume from Stackpole is beautifully presented. The heavy, glossy 8.5" x 11" pages allow full appreciation of all the realistic detail and vivid colors associated with each art reproduction. Every portrait is supported by extensive background and explanatory text contributed by Coates and McAfee as well as captioned photographs (over 300 in number) of the uniforms, accoutrements, and other historical artifacts that Troiani used as painting props.

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