The Death of General Wolfe (1770) by Benjamin West

The Death of General Wolfe - Benjamin West - 1770

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Death of General Wolfe
ArtistBenjamin West
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions151 x 213 cm
Art MovementRococo
Current LocationNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
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About The Death of General Wolfe

Benjamin West’s The Death of General Wolfe, from 1770, is an oil painting depicting a scene from the Seven Years’ War. It depicts the mortally wounded Major-General James Wolfe receiving aid from a soldier as he takes his last breath. Even though the death of James Wolfe was an important achievement for Britain, it wasn’t until forty years afterwards that art started featuring different topics than what was previously ordered by governments or the church. During that time, artists decided to create artwork depicting ordinary people, landscapes and scenes from literature such as The Death of General Wolfe. This painting came to define a genre known as History Painting.

Another example of this genre is Voulez-Vous Triompher Des Belles? by Jean-Antoine Watteau. Created in c.1720, it is an oil painting depicting a scene from the ballet Les Amours des Dieux by Jean Baptist Lully – another historical event depicted in painting form. Both works are great examples of the aesthetic value provided within History Paintings and its importance in displaying events from nations histories upon canvas for all to appreciate and remember.

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