Painting: Upstaging History

Not even Hollywood's greatest epics of gore can hold a candle to those monumental battle paintings of yore. Every schoolboy knows General Wolfe breathing his last on the Plains of Abraham, the redcoats storming up Bunker Hill, or Washington crossing the Delaware.

For a majestic instant in oils, the deadly carnage by grapeshot and musketry is stilled, and the course of history is reversed by a great man. Last week one of the finest U.S. battle tableaux, unseen for 75 years, went on view at the University of California's Berkeley campus.

The painting was Emanuel Leutze's 1854 work, Washington Rallying...

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