I remember hearing about Emanuel Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware in school when I was younger. Years later, when I joined the Met's Teen Advisory Group at age eighteen, I was able to see it for the first time. If you learn about the American Revolution, you have to come to the Met to see the lifesize George Washington cross the icy waters of the Delaware.
In 1775 George Washington became the commander in chief of the Continental forces in the American Revolution. He led his troops on a dangerous mission across the Delaware River and defeated the Hessian forces on Christmas Day in 1776. Standing in front of this painting, you can see Washington's hope for victory as he looks toward the shore.
Leutze's painting is full of stunning details. The details make me feel as if I am with Washington and his militia. If you look at the ice in the water, you can see the effort that the artist put into this lifelike masterpiece. Leutze paints the struggle of this crossing in the faces of the men and horses. I am sure they were wondering if they would make it across the Delaware in one piece. As a teenager in New York City, I feel like the men in the boat when I ride a crowded bus. I can imagine that they are just waiting to get off and move around.
I created a collage of my favorite details from this painting. Can you find the artist's signature in my work below?
This is our final post focused on the American Wing. Next week we'll move onto an exhibition of photographs, video, and film titled Spies in the House of Art. Make sure to check back to hear from the exhibition's curator and learn about artists who found inspiration for their work in museums.
We welcome your response to this question below.