Washington Crossing the Delaware
Based on the painting by Emanuel Leutze (German, 1816 - 1868), dated 1851, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (97.34)
Artist/maker unknown, American. After a painting by Emanuel Leutze, German (active United States), 1816 - 1868.
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When Emanuel Leutze's monumental painting Washington Crossing the Delaware was first shown in New York in 1851, it created a sensation with the American public. The image soon became an icon of American courage and heroism. Its variously reproduced forms-prints, painted copies, even embroideries-could be found almost everywhere, from state government offices to ordinary American homes. The painter of this copy was likely self-taught, as evidenced by the general awkwardness of the figures and the distorted facial features. Nevertheless, the artist convincingly conveys the story as told in Leutze's picture, faithfully repeating the exact pose and placement of each soldier as they struggle against the icy river, and evoking the cool, steady confidence of General Washington.