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A Realistic Painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware

In 1851, Emanuel Leutze painted General Washington and his army crossing the freezing Delaware River on the night of December 25, 1776 on their way to successfully attack the Hessian mercenary garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. That painting became one of the great icons of American historical art.

It was not, however, an accurate depiction of the event. So artist Mort Kunstler completed detailed research on the actual crossing and cataloged the errors in Leutze's painting. Then he created the above painting, which he thinks best represents that frozen night's journey across the river.

News Story and Full Size Image -via Marginal Revolution

"Realistic" in the way a Thomas Kinkade painting is "realistic":
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Maybe someone else can comment on the artist's goals and failures. I was commenting on the painting's style, which is Kinkadesque, and the post's title, which calls it a "realistic", which it is not.
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I have a feeling the torch is artistic liberty -- a torch destroys night vision, indicates presence, and represents a fire danger on a wooden ship that probably used turpentine soaked jute or hemp ropes as chinking.

Still, neat idea to replace the old cartoon with something better.
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Crammer, that's a very subjective/selective way of interpreting "realistic". It's clear in this context it refers to the subject matter and not the painter's style.
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It might give away their position to anyone watching nearby, but crossing that river in complete darkness may have been too risky.

I don't know about the historicity of the torches or lamps, though.
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Philf: Of course I realize the context is historicity (which "anonymous coward" points out may be suspect due to the inclusion of the signal beacons those guys are waving around up at the front of the rafts) - but I busted out of that context and commented on the painting's style. I included courtesy scare quotes so as not to offend, and even included links to images as a reference to fairly objectively similar styles, which could also, with the same dose of charity, be called "realistic". I mean, have you ever *seen* reality? It doesn't look like that.

I'll also add to anonymous coward's comments, and point out that the guy with the pole, image right, is wearing a digital watch, and the guy four rows back, image left, is clearly texting.
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I love it when these blow hards on Fox news bemoan the war on Christmas. To the founding fathers Christmas wasn't even a big deal

The reason Washington decided on Dec 25 was because he knew he was going up against Hessian mercs. Hessians were German and Christmas was a big deal to Germans. Christmas wasn't a big deal to the English speaking world back then. Washington knew the Hessians would all be drunk celebrating Christmas.

The reason Christmas caught on in the Anglo-sphere was because of Queen Vitoria who was of German descent. Charles Dickens also popularized Christmas
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Has anyone EVER *seen* reality? Plato seems to think not.

Crammer's comments were obviously about style, and not about accuracy. Yes, a little artsy-anal, but it made sense.

I always suspected that Dickens invented Christmas, but I never had any proof.
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@jimmyd Nice to see there's at least one sailor
here. Maybe it's to mimic the way GW is in the
original. I've seen the original many years ago
at the visitors center in Washington Crossing PA. Or was it Washington's Crossing PA? The two are on opposite sides of the Delaware River and I still mix them up. The torch seems rather superfluous since the raft is connected to a line, with two pulleys, that obviously ends on the NJ shore. If my memory is correct Leutze painted the type of barges used in his native Germany. Boats unlike ones used around Trenton during that time. All in all I grew up with the famous painting so it was a really nice experience to see the original.

@John Farrier I agree, it's a really good movie. Interesting article, thanks.
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