History · Travel

Christmas Night Drama: Washington’s Crossing

Next time I’m in New York City 🙏, I’d like to see the original Washington Crossing the Delaware painting.

I’m sure you’ve seen this painting before, but it would be amazing to see it in its original, massive form (12′ by 21′) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There are so many fascinating things about this painting. Here are a few highlights, but I recommend listening to at least the intro of Washington’s Crossing to really appreciate it.

  • The painting depicts the secret Christmas-night 1776 launch of the momentum-grabbing surprise attack on the British and German soldiers occupying New Jersey.
  • At the time, five months after the Declaration of Independence, the new American army had seen defeat after defeat and was 90% destroyed. Thus the gloomy atmosphere with a hint of sunshine in the background.
  • The painting was made by German-American painter Emanuel Leutze in 1850 with a goal of promoting democracy in Europe and fighting slavery in the United States. 🤩
  • The painting makes efforts to show all kinds of people from all over America literally in the same boat together. This includes a black man, a big statement back in 1850 during slavery. The paining was used for abolition fundraising.
  • The copy in NYC was the second one painted by Leutze. The first went to his native Germany and was destroyed by a British bombing raid during World War II — Britain’s final revenge on the American revolution. 😆
Washington Crossing the Delaware, Emanuel Leutze (American, Schwäbisch Gmünd 1816–1868 Washington, D.C.), Oil on canvas, American

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