Henry Mosler’s depiction of George Washington crossing the Delaware River stands in contrast to a famous 1851 painting of the same event by Emanuel Leutze. Leutze’s depiction of George Washington is one of an aggressive, confident man who is sailing over tumultuous waters, where Mosler’s painting depicts a serene Washington wading through blocks of ice. In addition, the Leutze painting embodies the spirit of patriotism with the (albeit, inaccurate) American flag flying prominently, while in the Mosler painting, it is tucked away in the far back of Washington’s boat, almost out of sight. Despite this, Mosler’s painting is romantic in its own right. At what appears to be the break of dawn, we see George Washington in his boat headed straight towards us, clear-eyed and driving his men directly into what would be a successful military feat.
Check out an audio remix project about this painting.
Watch a short video by students in CCT’s Media Production course about the painting.