Washington Crossing the Delaware – Metropolitan Museum of Art
Note: click photograph for a larger view
Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art
For well over 150 years, Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting has graced the pages of countless school-age textbooks to help young students visualize George Washington on his way to fight Hessian soldiers hired by Britain , on a cold wintery Christmas night in 1776. Washington’s victory at the Battle of Trenton was decisive, and a turning point in the minds of the demoralized Continental Army.
This massive painting (12ft x 21 ft) hangs prominently in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and we greatly enjoyed spending roughly 20 minutes standing before this iconic depiction of American history in a fairly recent trip to NYC.
According to the National Endowment for the Humanities website, “there are a lot of surprises about this most famous icon of American history. First a German artist painted it in response to German politics. Emanuel Leutze, born in Germany in 1816, moved to America as a child, but returned to Germany to study art in 1840. With a strong belief in liberal democracy, he painted this American Revolution scene to inspire German reformers. When his first painting of Washington’s crossing became popular in Europe, he shipped this second huge version to the United States in 1851. It became an instant success with more than fifty thousand people coming to see it”.
Here’s a 12-minute podcast from Metropolitan Museum of Art Curator Carrie Rebora Barratt telling the story of this great icon of American painting:
Whenever we travel to large metropolitan cities around the world, you can always find The Roaming Boomers® gawking and learning in the great museums of the world.
We hope that this brief article serves to inspire you to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art when you visit New York City, and then you too can stand in awe in front of this great monumental work of art.
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