Summary and Info
Emanuel Leutze's life-size Washington Crossing the Delaware commemorates the critical moment in the American Revolution when George Washington led a surprise attack against troops supporting the British forces in Trenton. When Leutze created the painting in 1850, after he had returned from America to his native Germany, he was hoping to rally support for the revolutionary movements then sweeping Europe. He sent the work to New York in 1851, and within four months 50,000 people had paid to see it. Today the painting is an icon of American visual culture and one of the most beloved objects in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2007, Leutze's masterpiece became the focus of the most ambitious conservation and reframing project in the museum's history. This book is a behind-the-scenes report on that project, prefaced by an account of the history of the painting's acquisition and display at the museum.