Augustus Saint-Gauden’s “Shaw Memorial” in Boston Common depicts a resonant, courageous act of the Civil War, in which the first regiment of African American soldiers recruited for the Union Army fought a doomed battle on a South Carolina fortress.

The Winslow Homer image of a soldier returning to his farm after the Civil War in “The Veteran in a New Field” refers to both the desolation of war and the country’s hope for the future. While the farmer’s scythe called to mind the bloodiest battles fought—and lives lost—in fields of grain, the bountiful crop of golden wheat could also be seen as a Christian symbol of salvation.