Death of General Wolfe

Painter: Benjamin West

Year: 1770

The death of British General James Wolfe during the Battle of Quebec of the Seven Years War is figured by West as if it is Christ-like. In this neo-Lamentation scene, Wolfe is surrounded during his last moments. The scene is given a uniquely American cast by the figure of the kneeling Native American who is seemingly lost in deep thought. West's incredible history painting was criticized at the time for rendering the subjects in contemporary dress. Before West's painting, classical attire was thought to have been the only appropriate way to memorialize the event.