Emanuel Leutze's painting Washington Crossing the Delaware is an iconic work depicting one of the most dramatic moments of the American Revolution.
The oil-on-canvas painting depicts George Washington, then a general in the American Revolutionary War, crossing the Delaware River with his troops on the night of December 25-26, 1776. The crossing immediately precipitated Washington's surprise attack on the Hessian forces. at the Battle of Trenton in New Jersey.
However, what many do not realize is that the best-known version of the painting, currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is not the original.
The first version of the painting was created in Germany in 1851, but it was destroyed in a fire in 1942 during World War II. However, Leutze had painted a replica of the work in 1850, which is in the Washington DC Museum of Art. This version is actually larger than the original and was created to ensure that the work would not be lost in the event of a any disaster.
Another interesting fact is that the painting depicts a historical event that was never witnessed by the artist, as Leutze was born in Germany in 1816 and the Battle of Trenton took place in 1776. Instead, he relied on eyewitness descriptions and accounts. face-to-face and in their own imagination to create the painting.
Washington Crossing The Delaware is ranked no. 80 on the list of famous paintings