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Artfully Said–Cold Enough For You?

Washington Crossing the Delaware, Emanuel Leutze (American, Schwäbisch Gmünd 1816–1868 Washington, D.C.), Oil on canvas, American

Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (Public Domain)

This is a wildly famous painting, one that I’ve see a lot in photographs over the years but, I must admit, have never looked very closely at before. The best way to see a painting like this (or any painting, really) is to travel where it is and see it in person. Obviously, this is not always possible, so we must settle for the next best thing. Still, we must take our time and allow ourselves to really look.

The focus of this painting is obviously General Washington himself. Do look at his determined expression and strong stance as he leads his men in little boats across the frozen Delaware River on Christmas Day, 1776. But then go beyond. Enlarge the frame. Scan around. Settle on a spot that interests you, something not obvious at first glance.

Draw that part of the painting to our attention. Describe it, its shapes, colors, what is depicts, its place in the painting, why it’s necessary, what senses it stimulates, how it makes you feel. Add your discovery to our appreciation of this painting.

After all, it’s not always about George.