Children in Summer
In the wake of the Civil War, children at play became one of the most popular subjects of genre paintings. After the death and destruction of the war, which Homer witnessed as an embedded artist, depictions of children were a way to honor the younger generation and the coming of peace.
Homer focused on rural children rather than urban children who had to help their families make ends meet by working in factories all day. In fact, child labor was a practice Homer actively opposed. Children growing up in rural communities were seen to have the most freedom, despite their chores and responsibilities. This apparently carefree life was seen by many to be just as nostalgic as the quaint one-room schoolhouse.