Skip to main content

Main Building

The Young Recruits

Christian Schuessele (Schussele) (American (born France), 1824/26–1879)
In this painting, a Revolutionary War officer cheerfully rallies a group of boys wearing comical hats and armed with toy weapons. But not every face in this painting is joyful. For Christian Schuessele, who left revolution-torn Europe in 1848, the lessons of the successful American War of Independence (1775-83) were hardly playful or childish matters. By 1855, when the artist painted this scene, the United States was again struggling, this time to remain a union. In an era when artists rarely addressed political tensions, The Young Recruits raised questions about patriotism and readiness for war, bringing national issues into the realm of the family and the neighborhood.

Object Details

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.

Main Building