Pulling Down the Statue of King George III My research on Pulling Down the Statue of King George III, New York City by Johannes Adam Simon Oertel has proven to be a little bit of a balancing act. The painting depicts Americans pulling down the statue of King George III that stood in Bowling Green park in 1776. The historically significant event that is the subject of the painting was half of my focus, but the painting itself also has some relevance. Oertel wasn’t even born when they tore the statue down, so the way he depicts the event was very interesting to me. The American elements in it are very romanticized, with entire families gathered round to watch the patriotic spectacle. However, one historical inaccuracy that can be found in the painting is how few black people are represented While it is known that there were multiple slaves and freedmen present, Oertel only paints one. This is the complete opposite from an engraving that was made for a French newspaper in 1776, when another artist depicted the statue being pulled down exclusively by slaves. This artist was also not present, and unfortunately, these are the only two artistic renderings of the event.
Researching this object was a very good experience for me, because it really exposed me to more information about colonial New York. Pulling down the statue of King George III was a very symbolic act, and as a very proud New Yorker, it was fun to research New York’s role in the Revolutionary War.
– Leo V.