Ode to Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware, 2016
Courtesy of JONATHAN FERRARA GALLERY, New Orleans.
Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851. Oil on canvas. Gift of John Stewart Kennedy, 1897. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 97.34.
Washington Crossing the Delaware is one of the most recognizable depictions of American history. The work shows General George Washington leading members of the Continental Army across the ice-packed Delaware River on Christmas day in 1776. Washington and his troops successfully attacked Hessian soldiers, German soldiers supporting the British cause, at their Trenton, New Jersey post. Washington intended to attack with 5,000 troops led by three generals, however, two of the generals and 2,600 of the soldiers were unable to cross the river due to the fierce winter conditions. Nevertheless, Washington persevered and won the battle.
The reimagining of this perilous attack, a mission laced with adversity, as one led and fought by women speaks to the strength of the female body and spirit. Where society often casts men alone in roles of war heroism, women too can prevail when defending what they believe in.