Analyzing John Trumbull's Surrender Of Lord Cornwallis

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Anahy Lopez ENGL 2329 Section 020 Spring 2015 Artistic Response to War Project: An Examination of “Surrender of Lord Cornwallis” (717) The painting “Surrender of Lord Cornwallis” by John Trumbull was completed in 1820 and is now on display in the Rotunda of the US Capitol. Figure 1 Image from Architect of the Capitol This painting done by Trumbull serves as an artistic response to war through its portrayal of the sky, by the firm stance of each side, and through General Benjamin Lincoln being placed in the center. The event that is depicted in this picture is when the British Army surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. This painting represents the “calmer” side of war and the process of surrendering. This moment led to the end…show more content…
General Lincoln is the person that is representing America for what is about to happen. He is painted in the middle sitting on a white horse. When we look at the British soldier that is representing the British side, we see that instead of being on a horse he is standing. To me this symbolizes the difference between the victorious side and the losing side, ultimately suggesting that the American side is better than the other. The demeanor that General Lincoln carries is of a person that is very proud and honored to be where he is. While General Lincoln stands alone in the center, the British side has plenty of soldiers lined up. In the background, under the American flag, we see another person on a horse that also stands out. That person is General George Washington. General Washington isn’t the one that is accepting the British decision of surrendering because Cornwallis didn’t appear there himself to surrender. The last thing that I noticed is the way General Lincoln’s hand is extended towards the British soldier. This could either symbolize that he wants something from the British soldier or that he just wants to literally shake

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