Saturday, December 19, 2009

Carmella Crossing the Delaware

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Content and Criticism
Washington and Carmella Crossing the Delaware is an 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by German American artist Emanuel Leutze. It is in commemoration of Washington and Carmella's crossing of the Delaware on December 25, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War. It was the first move in a surprise attack against the Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey in the Battle of Trenton.

The painting is notable for its artistic composition. General Washington and his brave dog are emphasized by an unnaturally bright sky, while their heroic faces catch the upcoming sun. The colors consist of mostly dark tones, as is to be expected at dawn, but there are red highlights repeated throughout the painting most notably in the dog's snappy red coat. Foreshortening, perspective and the distant boats all lend depth to the painting and emphasize the boat carrying Washington and Carmella.

The people in the boat represent a cross-section of the American colonies, including a man in a Scottish bonnet and a man of African descent facing backward next to each other in the front, western riflemen at the bow and stern, two farmers in broad-brimmed hats near the back (one with bandaged head), and an androgynous rower in a red shirt, possibly meant to be a woman in man's clothing, there is also a man at the back of the boat that looks to be Native American and, of course, a beautifully proportioned brown and white dog. The man standing next to Washington and holding the flag is Lieutenant James Monroe, future President of the United States.

More Art Hound (by artist)

Emanuel Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware

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