In celebration during Presidents’
Week of the anniversary of the birth of George Washington on February 22, 1732,
and in recognition during Black History Month of the role played by
African-Americans in the Revolutionary War, Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan, noted
historian, writer, lecturer, and educator, will present Washington Crossing
the Delaware: The Story Behind the Painting, at the Hillside Public
Library, 155 Lakeville Road, New Hyde Park, on Thursday, February 21st
at 1 PM. (registration opens Feb. 4, by phone at (516) 355-7850, x301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.) An analysis of Emanuel Leutze’s monumental
1851 work will provide the stepping-off point for discussion of the historical
context of the painting: Early in the morning of December 26, 1776, Washington, the
Continental Army’s Commander-in-Chief, and his men successfully pulled off his
daring military stratagem at the Battle of Trenton. That triumph rallied Washington’s men,
Congress, and the colonists to continue the war to victory. Also discussed will
be the artist’s motivation to create this icon of American history just prior
to the Civil War, when our hard-won nationhood was in danger. Possible reasons for Leutze’s placement of a
black soldier next to Washington
in the boat will be raised.
A product of the school of
romantic history painting, the work and its “errors” will be seen as the means
by which the artist created an American classic of great emotional impact.
This program is sponsored by the New
York Council for the Humanities.