Art/ Collection/ Art Object

George Washington before the Battle of Trenton

Artist:
John Trumbull (American, Lebanon, Connecticut 1756–1843 New York)
Date:
ca. 1792–94
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
26 1/2 x 18 1/2 in. (67.3 x 47 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Grace Wilkes, 1922
Accession Number:
22.45.9
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 719
George Washington sat for Trumbull in Philadelphia in 1792; from that sitting, the artist created a fullsize canvas (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.) and this smaller version. The general is shown on the evening before the pivotal Battle of Trenton in late 1776. He looks upward, conceiving his strategy against the vastly superior approaching enemy. The significance of the moment is expressed in the drama of the threatening sky and by the excitable horse, held in check by a soldier groom.
Charles Wilkes, New York, ca. 1808–died 1833; his wife, subject to a life interest, died 1851; their children, George (died 1876), Frances (Mrs. David Cadwallader Colden) (died 1877), and Anne (died 1890), who after 1877 held the portrait jointly with George Wilkes's daughters, Harriet K. (died 1887), and Grace (died 1922)
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