Examining visual evidence

art as a primary source

Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851, oil on canvas, 379 x 648 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Speakers: Sarah Alvarez, Director of School Programs, Art Institute of Chicago, Dr. Beth Harris, and Dr. Steven Zucker


This video provides a model for how to use a work of art in your classroom.


to model a process for historical inquiry with works of art that
– promotes a questioning disposition
– validates emotional and sensorial ways of knowing
– reinforces the importance of context and chronology as anchors for historical understanding
– reflects on how knowledge is collectively built and shared over time


Go deeper

Downloadable, high-resolution images of this painting for teaching and learning

This painting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

How Contemporary Artists Have Used “Washington Crossing the Delaware” to Challenge History

Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware” through Conservators’ Eyes

“George Washington, Man, Myth, Monument” on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History 

Corey Kilgannon, “Crossing the Delaware, More Accurately,” New York Times (December 2011)


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Explore the diverse history of the United States through its art. Seeing America is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.