Emanuel Leutze - Washington Crossing the DelawareOil on canvas, 1851, 378,5 x 647,7 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

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Description and interpretation of the famous painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze!

Emanuel Leutze - Washington Crossing the Delaware

With the "Transition Washington over the Delaware", the Swabian artist Emanuel Leutze created one of the major works of glorification of North American history. This was spread up to stamp form. Leutze shows an important moment of the American liberation wars. The crossing of the Delaware was Washington's first secretly planned attack against the Hessians near Trenton in the war of the same name.

Although Leutze was dedicated to realism, it was not his intention to include the viewer in the picture. Rather, the high pathos of the painting keeps him at a distance. The pictorial world is completely closed in itself.

Washington's figure is shown exposed and immediately catches the eye. The unnaturally bright sky and his upright posture make him an outstanding protagonist of the work. Washington's determination contrasts with the difficult weather conditions. The waving American flag and the sea filled with ice floes make all efforts for his men.

The choice of the painter to let the boat go from right to left against the usual reading direction also supports this impression. Washington seems to be the only person who has no trouble withstanding the wind. His position, actually quite unstable, appears rather statuesque here.

Several units follow, formatted in a row, a whole boat length behind. Horses and cannons can also be seen here. Behind it, getting smaller and smaller, more follow. On the left side of the screen, however, a section of the landscape appears and thus the long-awaited destination.

© the artinspector / alexandra tuschka