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HIS 117:Pierog

Paintings of Historical Events & the Story Behind Them

Books/Films In Our Library Collections

  • 30 millenia of painting
  • Other titles are dependent on the artist and painting you select.  Try locating an artist/painting using the online resources and then search for the artist in the Primo catalog search above to locate books in the library.

Online Resources

List of potential paintings to research (list is NOT exhaustive--this is only a small selection of possiblities)

  • "The Death of General Wolfe" (1770) by Benjamin West - Depicts the death of British General James Wolfe during the Battle of Quebec in 1759
  • "Liberty Leading the People" (1830) by Eugène Delacroix - Commemorates the July Revolution of 1830 in France, which led to the overthrow of King Charles X.
  • "The Third of May 1808" (1814) by Francisco Goya - Depicts the execution of Spanish civilians by French troops during the Peninsular War.
  • "The Surrender of Breda" (1634-1635) by Diego Velázquez - Commemorates the Spanish victory at the Siege of Breda during the Eighty Years' War.
  • "The Declaration of Independence" (1817) by John Trumbull - Illustrates the drafting committee presenting the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress in 1776.
  • "The Execution of Lady Jane Grey" (1833) by Paul Delaroche - Depicts the execution of Lady Jane Grey, the nine-day queen of England, in 1554.
  • "The Boston Tea Party" (1846) by Nathaniel Currier - Depicts the iconic protest by American colonists against British taxation without representation in 1773. (this is a lithograph, not a painting)
  • "The Battle of Lepanto" (1603) by Andrea Vicentino - Commemorates the Christian victory against the Ottoman Empire in the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
  • "Peace of Westphalia: The Swearing of the Oath of Ratification of the Treaty of Münster (1648) by Gerard ter Borch - Illustrates the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War and the Eighty Years' War in 1648.
  • "Charles I Insulted by Cromwell's Soldiers", (1836) by Paul Delaroche - Depicting Charles I of England taunted by the victorious soldiers of Oliver Cromwell after the Second English Civil War, prior to his execution in 1649.
  • "The Massacre at Chios" (1824) by Eugène Delacroix - Depicts the massacre of Greeks on the island of Chios by Ottoman forces during the Greek War of Independence.
  • "Guernica" (1937) by Pablo Picasso -the artist's personal response to the horrific bombing inflicted by the Germans on the tiny Basque town in 1937. 
  • "The First Thanksgiving" (1915) by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe - Depicts the Pilgrims' celebration with Native Americans after a successful harvest in 1621.
  • "The Proclamation of the German Empire" (1877) by Anton von Werner - Commemorates the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871.
  • “Nemesis Destroying the Chinese War Junks in Anson’s Bay, Jan 7th 1841” by Edward Duncan. - One of Duncan's Opium War paintings.
  • "The Battle of Waterloo" (1815) by William Sadler II - Depicts the final battle of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.
  • "The Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II" (1898) by Laurits Tuxen - Commemorates the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
  • "The Slave Ship" (1840) by J.M.W. Turner - Depicts enslaved Africans on a British slave ship being thrown overboard.
  • "The Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi" (1938) by Marcus King - Depicts the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840,which gave Britain governorship over the Maori. 
  • "Napoleon at the Pesthouse at Jaffa" (1804) by Antoine-Jean Gros - Napoleon visited his troops who were stricken with the Bubonic Plague. Gros depicts Napoleon attempting to calm the growing panic about contagion by fearlessly touching the sores of one of the plague victims in a propaganda painting.   In reality he had ordered the death of the prisoners whom he could not afford to house or feed, and poisoned his troops who were dying from the plague as he retreated from Jaffa.
  • "The Execution of Maximilian" (1867 or 1868) by Edouard Manet - Depicts the execution of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico in 1867.
  • "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1895) by Richard Caton Woodville - Illustrates the ill-fated charge during the Crimean War in 1854.
  • "The Treaty of Paris, 1783" (1783) by Benjamin West - Commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolutionary War.
  • "The Battle of Sekigahara" (1620s)  by Sadanobu KanĊ - Represents the pivotal battle that led to the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate. (not a painting per se but a silk screen). 
  • "The Storming of the Bastille" (1789) by Jean-Pierre Houël - Depicts the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution in 1789.
  • "The Battle of Britain" (1941) by Paul Nash - Depicts aerial combat during the Battle of Britain in World War II.
  • "The Death of Nelson" (1859-64) by Daniel Maclise - Depicts the death of Admiral Lord Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar.