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George Washington Crossing the Delaware
Perspective Light Color Form Motion Proportion
Depicting motion is a technique painters use to keep our attention focused on the picture.
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Which of these elements appears to move in this painting?

The Boat |  The Water |  The Soldiers |  The Flag |  General Washington

Other works use motion

Boat:
Is the boat traveling along a smooth path? Look how the oars are pointing in different directions. This makes the boat seem as though it is rocking as it struggles against the wind, currents, and other obstacles.

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Water:
Water filled with menacing ice floes splashes against the boat. Armed with oars and poles, the soldiers struggle to keep chunks of ice from battering the side of the boat.

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Soldiers:
Although the boat does not seem to be moving very quickly, there are indications that it is making headway across the river. Each of the soldiers is working hard to keep the boat on its course.

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Flag:
The flag is also a motion indicator. Its fabric is blown back by the wind, possibly from the boat's propulsion forward. Colonel James Monroe (who would become the fifth United States president) struggles at Washington's side to keep the flag aloft, as an inspirational symbol for the other troops.

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General Washington:
General Washington appears to be the only element in the painting that does NOT move. Washington stands erect and resolute, focusing his thoughts on the future, not on the worries of the moment. His confidence is inspiring to his soldiers as they struggle against great odds to cross the icy river at dawn.

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Which of these paintings uses motion in its composition?

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composition
perspective |  light |  color |  form |  motion |  proportion