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"Liberty and King George" Interactive Video Wall

August 06, 2012 - August 06, 2012

Bring art to life! This video animation by the Small Design Firm of Cambridge, Massachusetts reproduces a Johannes Adam Oertel work, depicting the destruction of the statue of King George III in 1776 by patriots on ten high-definition flat screens. Triggered by visitors’ movements, various elements of the painting come to life using sound and animation.

 A video animation of Johannes A.S. Oertel 1823–1909), Pulling Down the Statue of King George III, New York City, 1852–53, oil on canvas. Gift of Samuel Verplanck Hoffman, 1925.6.

Around 1852, Johannes Adam Oertel depicted an incident that had occurred over seventy-five years earlier: the destruction of the statue of King George III by patriots on July 9, 1776, at Bowling Green in New York City. The American Revolution would inspire other democratic uprisings around the world, including the unsuccessful 1848 revolution in Oertel’s native Germany, which sent progressives like Oertel fleeing to the United States. This painting illustrates the Bowling Green riot precipitated by the reading of the Declaration of Independence, though the work takes historical liberties by adding American Indians, an African-American, women, and children to the scene. These figures represent groups who were not only affected by the coming revolution, but whose rights were beginning to be redefined at the time of Oertel’s composition.

Our consideration of the past can directly reflect our present, as this work illustrates. This video animation invites visitors to contemplate their own places in a lively historical continuum.

Learn more about the original painting by Johannes A.S. Oertel, then see this interactive video for yourself by planning your visit today!

Creative: Tronvig Group