Tug of War

Merrill Coffin’s masterful depiction of an Amish farm, titled “Tug of War,” captures the essence of a tranquil rural scene bathed in warm golden hues. The focal point of the painting is a pristine white barn against which two traditional Amish buggies are neatly parked, adding a touch of simplicity and charm to the landscape.

In the foreground, a lively tableau unfolds with five white chickens peacefully grazing on the golden grass. A farmhand or neighbor, clad in jeans, a brown jacket, and a straw hat with a brown rim, walks away from us carrying two pails. The scene suggests a sense of everyday life and communal effort.

Beside the barn stands an old Amish man, distinguished by a white beard and black hat, dressed in traditional Amish attire. He holds onto a buggy in one hand while the other wields a rake, symbolizing the connection between man and the land. His watchful gaze is directed toward two young Amish boys joyfully playing with a white dog. One of the boys engages in a spirited game of tug-of-war, creating a playful and endearing moment that adds a touch of innocence to the composition.

Adjacent to the dog and boys, an Amish girl faces away from the viewer, observing the delightful interaction. The composition is carefully divided by a pristine white fence, which not only adds a sense of order but also serves as a boundary between the cultivated yard and the untamed beauty of the hilly golden field in the background.

Two trees with golden leaves stand proudly in front of the barn and fence, creating a harmonious balance within the composition. Beyond the fields, a pine woods gently blends into the distant horizon, enhancing the overall sense of tranquility and serenity that defines this picturesque Amish farm captured by Merrill Coffin. “Tug of War” invites the viewer to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of rural life, where nature and community coexist in perfect equilibrium.


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