San Antonio western artist Donald Yena has created what experts agree is the most historically accurate painting of the battle of the Alamo ever, which has been dedicated in the main dining room of the Petroleum Club on the city's northeast side, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
While many paintings of the Alamo battle focus on fanciful events like Davy Crockett swinging his rifle over his head, Dr. Bruce Winders, who for decades was the Alamo's official historian and who acted as a consultant to Yena, says this painting goes out of its way to portray the March 1836 battle in a 'you were there' atmosphere.
"I think that's a good analogy, that its happening in real time," he said.
Entitled 'First Light, Gunsmoke, Bayonets, and Texas History,' Yena says he went out of his way to capture the smallest details, like the specific types of weapons, saddles, and spurs which would have been used by the Texians and the Mexican regulars.
Winders says Yena did an outstanding job on key items which are frequently lost in the current paintings of the battle, like the raw, damp March pre-dawn morning when the battle took place.
"This painting captures the time of day, and so it is sort of dark, and it gives you the impression of chaos, which was the battle."
The artist's vantage point is on modern day Losoya Street, looking at the northwest wall of the Alamo. Mexican troops are seen advancing from two sides, and taking fire from Texian troops on the walls. The painting shows the mission wall which surrounded the Alamo compound in 1836 and the famous Alamo church is barely seen behind the wall.
Winders says the painting does a great job of giving the viewer a sense of the amazingly long odds faces by the small Texian force of fewer than 200 having to defend the massive ground inside the walls, which is far larger than today's Alamo Plaza, against a force of Mexican regulars numbering more than 2500. That was the reason Sam Houston ordered the Alamo defenders to destroy the mission, determining it impossible to defend.
The painting also shows the scrub grass which made up what is how downtown San Antonio in the 1830s, and a pecan tree near the northwest corner which was known to have survived until the 1850s.
"This painting speaks to people who may not know a lot about the Alamo, but draws them into the story and makes them want to know more," Winders said. "You get the sense that this is a last stand and you get a sense of what the ending is going to be. It is a painting that even if you didn't know that it's the Alamo, you're going to find it dramatic and moving."