The Death of General Montgomery
in the Attack of on Quebec, Canada, John Trumbell, 1788
Happening Truth By: Jheel Patel
Story Truth by Gillian Britt
The Critique of the Painting
Title: The title "The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack of Quebec" shows that the author is trying emphasis the significance of this death. The word "The" is usually used in the specification of an event, for example "The Boston massacre". The use of the word "The" in this context is to tell the reader that this death isn't just a tragic causality, it is an event, and in history, events are remembered and archived.
The author positioned the dead general Montgomery in the center of the painting. His purpose was to direct the audiences attention to the center, where the tragedy has happened. The dead general Is being held by his allies. The author purposefully did this to make the audience create a scenario in the mind of the audience as to what lead to his death. In the audience's mind, when the general was killed, his allies dropped everything and rushed to his aid showing that compared to all the other casualties in this battle, Montgomery's is truly a hefty loss. However this did not actually occur. The author continues to make general Montgomery the center of attention by removing the building he was shot near, as to not misdirect the audience's attention from Montgomery. The author chose to illustrate another dead body right in front of Montgomery, by the colors this second causality is wearing isn't as bright as the coloring of Montgomery. Also he is fully on the ground. This is significant because it shows the author is showing the difference between just a causality and a tragic death. The author had another reason for drawing Montgomery this way. Montgomery is held in such a position that the audience can draw a connection between the loss of Montgomery as a compression to the loss of Jesus in the Pietà. finally the author chose to add the British in the dark part of the painting. This was to show who caused this tragedy and who the blame should be placed on. Usually the audience will look at the center of the picture then look around the center due to how the author misdirected the audience's focus. So the audience will look at the tragedy and then look who is to be blamed for this.
This painting was illustrated in 1788, a few years after the battle. The audience during this time
Analysis of painting
The Imagery of the painting really draws the attention of the audience to where it needs to be. To start, the audience will look at the title and immediately look for the general who is perfectly in the center. The author chose to add another dead body near the general but that dead body is not getting the same amount of attention as the general. This is what the author wanted, to cement that fact that general Montgomery was more than just a casualty and is on a different level when it came to his importance. Though Montgomery was killed near a building, the author did not want to spare any attention and removed this detail. This was to maximize the attention on the general. Furthermore on that statement, the general was shot in the face, yet there is no blood. The author has an obsessive need to center Montgomery over all that he would remove buildings and even the appearance of blood to have the audience focused on this event. Going back to the dead comrade, he is laying on the ground, yet general Washington is being held by his allies. The author made this contrast to yet again tell the audience that this is more than a casualty and, the death of the generals subordinates could not measure to the death of the general. Also the author chose to brighten the clothes the general was wearing to further sweep the attention to the general. Finally, knowing the religious background of the intended audience, the author also painted Montgomery this way to represent the Pietà. This final act of the author was to demonstrate that the loss of general Montgomery could be compared to the loss of Jesus, a truly bold statement.
Audience: This painting was created in 1798, years after the american revolution.The authors intended audience was the Americans who had finally received their free dome. The purpose of this painting was to make the Americans who got their independence remember that great losses were received in order to get it. Therefore, the event of Montgomery death was one of those losses. Its a date to remember of a man he deemed as significant who died in the struggle for independence. He used the dark colors and painting the British in the background to make them remember the feelings of loss and pain during those years. He did so in the name of general Montgomery.