Before George Washington fought the Battle of Trenton he fought the elements, melodramatically depicted in Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” This painting, one of a series of paintings of American historical scenes for which he is famous, is actually a rendering of the Rhine River since Leutze (1816 – 1868) was born and raised in Germany. Originally 12 feet high and 21 feet long, this painting was destroyed during World War II, and was replaced by a second, smaller version which symbolizes patriotism and freedom.
Born in Germany, American historical painter Emanuel Leutze (1816-1868) is best-known for creating large scale masterpieces depicting evocative, national scenes. Enduring symbols of American patriotism, his most iconic paintings hang in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Harvard Law School. In 1860, Congress commissioned Leutze to decorate a stairway in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. where it is seen on a daily basis.