Rowing into the Unknown

By: Anura K, Pratiksha T, Rebecca Z, Mahathi M

George Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, 1851

Big image

Artist Bio: Pratiksha Tonpe and Anura Khond

  • Nationality: German born American
  • Lifetime: May 24, 1816- July 18, 1868 (19th century era)
  • Information:
- brought to the US as a child but went to study at the academy of art in Dussldorf in Germany

- commissioned by US congress to decorate a stairway in Capitol at Washington DC

- belived in liberal democracy

- painted American Revolution to influence German reformers

- painted George Washington crossing the Delaware river in response to German Politics

Art Critique: Anura Khond and Pratiksha Tonpe

There is much symbolism in the painting:
  • The boat: represents the men united towards liberty and reaching for a common goal
  • George Washington: depicts the hero. Posture shows him as a powerful figure and shows his significant leadership
  • The Men: signifies the unity, nationalism and determination; there are some other prominent figures such as James Monroe
  • The Flag: represents the unity of the states
  • The River, Ice: shows the obstacles against the common goal
  • The Weather: the dawn symbolizes hope for the future
The Composition
  • triangular formations from the flag to boat to stern; more in the groupings of men
  • light and shadow as wells as the hues in the center show depth; light also represents hope
  • the colors are also really dull to show the harsh reality and conditions of the soldiers

The Story Truth: Rebecca Zhou and Mahathi MohanGowda

With the knowledge that the numbers in our patriot troops are slowly dwindling, I felt a sense of anxiousness as I heard the sounds of boots crunching through ice by my house. I held my breath as I walked over toward the banging on my door. A young man stands in the doorway spouting a declaration,

“We ask that you come with us now, so that you may aid the troop in the river crossing.”

“But, sir I am but a mere merchant with no military expertise.”

“That matters not, we need more able-bodied men to complete this mission.”

I shifted around nervously before saying,

“Then so be it”.

The soldier returned to camp that has been set up a couple miles south of the river as I prepared for trip. I then rushed over to the campsite as the sun began to sink below the horizon. When I arrived at the camp, the confused and frantic attitudes among the troops were evident in their their tense behaviors. And amidst all this chaos I couldn’t help but feel fearful of what the future held for me and the men around me. The biting cold didn’t help matters as many men lacked the proper gear to protect themselves from the weather.

We began piling into the boats with the materials and surveying the icy waters ahead. The boats were packed with several people, and all wore the same stoic expression. I fell back to the harsh reality as a man threw me a heavy pair of oars, instructing me to row. Suddenly the soldiers began parting to the sides of the boat as the general, George Washington, clambered on to the boat. He gave us an encouraging look and said, “Row!”. And with that, we rowed with all our glory and might across the Delaware river into the unknown.

Happening Truth: Mahathi MohanGowda and Rebecca Zhou

The famous event known as “George Washington crossing the Delaware” was on the night of December 25th, 1776 that Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River. The bitter cold made the travels difficult, but they were necessary in the revolutionary effort.. With two thousand and four soldiers of the Continental Army, General Washington journeyed across the Delaware towards Trenton, New Jersey. This secret attack was made in such a way in order to defeat the Hessian mercenaries; a sudden move that was desperately needed by the patriots after a string of defeats to the British in the American Revolutionary War.

War Story: Rebecca Zhou, Mahathi Mohangowda, Anura Khond, Pratiksha Tonpe

The future of the American Revolution is bleak. So far, all direct battles with Britain have resulted in heavy damages: half of the troops are dead, missing, taken as prisoners, or injured. Supplies are slowly dwindling and morale is low among the soldiers. Washington is desperate and has no other choice but to use his last resort. He plans to attack the Hessian in the middle of the winter, when most soldiers are attending parties and relishing in the holiday spirit. Along with a crew of 80 men, Washington crossed the icy Delaware River towards Trenton and the Hessian..