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"Washington Crossing the Delaware Painting" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Militia Pete10 Nov 2019 4:41 a.m. PST

In David Hackett Fischer's book he states there are 13 people in the boat. 12 are clearly visible with the 13th hidden. Is he wrong about this fact?
For the record I can see where the 13 "is"

Militia Pete10 Nov 2019 4:41 a.m. PST

In David Hackett Fischer's book he states there are 13 people in the boat. 12 are clearly visible with the 13th hidden. Is he wrong about this fact?
For the record I can see where the 13 "is"

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 5:27 a.m. PST

Nah, I can only see 12 – but my guess is the other guy is behind the mast???

Militia Pete10 Nov 2019 5:32 a.m. PST

Holding the musket in the back behind the group of three at the back of the boat.

olicana10 Nov 2019 6:42 a.m. PST

There must be 13. Otherwise he wouldn't cross the Delaware – he'd just go round in circles.

It's the oars. There must be one on the other side to balance it.

Dodgyknees the Greek10 Nov 2019 7:09 a.m. PST

There are 16 in the boat. 12 clearly visible, 3 holding muskets behind the rear group(count the muskets and bayonets), and the guy on the starboard aft oar.


Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 8:07 a.m. PST

Never realized one of the men in the front was black! Pretty cool detail for a painting of that era!

I also suspect that the rear rower in the red shirt is female.

I count 12 figures. I don't think the muskets and bayonets are relevant, as the oarsmen and helmsman can't hold theirs while operating the boat. The "extra" weapons we see are either stacked, stowed, or held by the others; we just don't see enough of each weapon to see how they are carried.

The "13th man" would obviously be another rower on the opposite side of the craft, hidden by Gen. W. and the standard bearers.

Dodgyknees the Greek10 Nov 2019 8:21 a.m. PST

The Muskets for the crew are actually below Washington in the bottom of the boat, you can see them in front of the guy wrapped up in the cloak.

This link takes you to the wiki page if you click on the painting top right, it takes you to a very large image that makes it easier to see the details.


Londonplod10 Nov 2019 8:27 a.m. PST

But which one is saying "If you don't sit down you will tip the bloody boat over!"?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 2:37 p.m. PST

The three muskets with bayonets are not being held by three unseen people.

Militia Pete11 Nov 2019 4:27 a.m. PST

It was Fischer's argument that the 13th man was holding at least one of those three muskets in the back.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2019 6:58 a.m. PST

If you cannot see a "figure" in a painting it's because THERE IS NO FIGURE. It's a painting, not a photograph. Painters don't paint "invisible" things. One might as well claim there's a kangaroo behind George Washington.

Now, one can argue that logically there "should" be another oarsman on the opposite side in order for the boat to move forward, if it were a real boat, but the painter didn't paint one, so in the painting there is no 13th man! (Much less is there a 14th, 15th, or increasingly imaginary 16th man). What is in the painting is what you can see. Anything else is utterly a figment of the imagination.

The one exception being a situation where the painter originally sketched or even painted an element, thought better of it, and then painted over his mistake.

Which is obviously what happened with the kangaroo.
evil grin

Militia Pete13 Nov 2019 4:29 a.m. PST

So, Pulitzer Prize winning author David Hackett Fischer is wrong?

How did this not corrected before printing. Or is this his interpretation of the painting? I will admit he states there is an invisible 13th man. But to your point, if it is invisible it isn't there.

And Did anyone else see Nessie helping guide Washington across the Delaware?

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2019 8:54 p.m. PST

If he thinks there's an unseen person "behind" Washington in a two-dimensional image, yeah, he's wrong, no matter what prize he's won.

Besides which, it's an imagined scene created for thematic purposes with considerable dramatic license, not an attempt to portray the event with historical exactitude. Getting hung up on non-existent figures in a patriotic painting is to miss the point entirely.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2019 2:13 p.m. PST

There are invisible stuff in paintings, X-rays have shown lots of stuff in painting not visible.

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