On Monday the Metropolitan Museum will reopen its newly renovated American Wing, the centerpiece of which is the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River.
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The new galleries, comprising 30,000 square feet, celebrate Colonial portraiture, the young Republic and the Civil War Era. The Hudson River School, the West and American Impressionism also get their due.
But the splashiest installation is of one of the most iconic images of the American history — Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware.”
“The museum’s encyclopedic collection offers visitors the broad sweep of American history as told through great works of art,” Met officials said. The installation with the Washington painting “focuses on the themes of freedom, exploration, and expansion that pervaded America during the mid-19th century.”
Leutze’s 1851 work of the famous surprise attack General George Washington led on Christmas night in 1776 against the British during the American Revolution has an ornate new frame, painstakingly recreated from a newly uncovered 1864 photo of the painting.
It is “among the top 10 tourist attractions in the museum, if not the city,” the Met’s associate curator, Carrie Barratt, said in a podcast for the installation.