The Minnesota Marine Art Museum deserves all the press it's getting for the acquisition of Emanuel Leutze's "Washington Crossing the Delaware." It's a big deal for the museum and a perfect tool for marketing the institution (and Winona) nationally.
But is it a masterpiece of world art, on a par with da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper," as has been proposed in media coverage? Even Mona Lisa would crack a smile at that one. It's a well-crafted, commercial painting by an otherwise unremarkable American artist. "Washington Crossing the Delaware" is famous mainly for being famous as a patriotic icon, not as a groundbreaking work of 19th century art.
(It's also famous mostly for the wall-sized version, owned by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, but that's another story.)
The Marine Art Museum has several minor pieces by major artists such as Monet and Renoir that are more noteworthy than the Leutze picture -- and for my money, just about every painting in the American Gallery, many by Hudson River School artists, is more interesting and important than "Washington Crossing the Delaware."
This isn't to rain on the parade -- again, that painting's marketing value for the Winona museum is immense, and the museum deserves all the attention it gets. But it's to the museum's credit to say, they have a lot more impressive paintings than that one.