The Prayer at Valley Forge

"The Prayer at Valley Forge" by Arnold Friberg

"The Prayer at Valley Forge" by Arnold Friberg

“One of the most inspiring portrayals of American history is that of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That moving image personifies and testifies to our Founder’s dependence upon Divine Providence during the darkest hours of our Revolutionary struggle.”  Ronald Reagan, President (1981-1989)

The following excerpt was taken from Nathaniel Randolph Snowden’s (1770-1851) “Diary and Remembrances”, who was with the Quaker Isaac Potts when he recounted where he found General George Washington praying alone in the woods at Valley Forge.

“In that woods, pointing to a close in view, I heard a plaintive sound as of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling & went quietly into the woods & to my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis, & the cause of the country, of humanity & of the world. ‘Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying.” Additional info can be found at Historic Valley Forge.

In the artist’s own words, Arnold Friberg, tells about the research that went into this famous painting. Watch the following two videos to hear his story firsthand.

As a former Canadian mountie I had occasion to become acquainted with the name, Arnold Friberg who was given the honor of becoming an honorary member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Friberg became a famous painter of mounties for the Northwest Paper Company and their popular calendar which always depicted the legends of the Northwest Mounted Police, now known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. While serving as a member, I started collecting some of these works of which some now hang on the inn’s walls. Mr. Friberg received invitations from Queen Elizabeth II to come to Buckingham Palace to paint Her Majesty and Prince Charles along with their horses. What finer artist could be found with more experience and skill in painting horses? Arnold Friberg’s “The Prayer at Valley Forge” has become a classic among American patriotic art.

Dan Abbott
George Washington Inn, LLC

A reproduction of “The Prayer at Valley Forge”, suitable for framing, can be found at George Washington Mint, a division of George Washington Inn, LLC.

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