Panorama

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“It was a vast circular representation of objects, where the eye reached to a horizon, and there being no limit, the illusion was complete” (Foucand 94).


Patent

A patent dated June 19th, 1787 is granted to Irish “portrait-painter” Robert Barker of the city of Edinburgh for an invention “called by him La Nature à Coup ď Œil, for the purpose of displaying Views of Nature at large, by Oil-painting, Fresco, Water-colours, Crayons, or any other Mode of painting or drawing.” Literally “The Nature of the Blow of the Eye,” the patent notes that “this invention has been since called the Panorama” (Barker 165). That Barker’s technique is not merely a new, page-bound perspective for two-dimensional markings but an interdisciplinary experience necessitating particular reception is apparent in his introductory sentence: “my invention…is intended, by drawing and painting, and a proper disposition of the whole, to perfect an entire view of any country or situation, as it appears to an observer turning quite round” (my italics; 165). The remainder of the document describes the proper construction of the building in which a panorama painting may be displayed, discussed in depth below.

Architecture

stuff

An illusionary viewing technology that was highly popular in the nineteenth century...


Remediations: feature on digital camera (can't see all at once, must capture in sections like original),

hiss/ pops: the floor (fixed with false terrain [painting needs sculpture, interdisciplinary art]), patent (Robert Barker) states that an enclosure must force the viewer from getting too close, constructed viewpoint

projection used to create? difficult perspective- pencil attached to 15ft bamboo stick

forced a certain distance from image

Goethe: ocean

stations of the cross- catholic churches

Pops and Hisses

floor and ceiling: painted?

frame: never feel below or underneath the picture

interdiscplinary: sculpture included

"shock" from nausea at being so high: sea sickness

Obvious

functional nonsense: hats inside why need top covering? ceiling not necessary?

content: landscapes: charleston, battle scenes, Robert K. Porter

need circular room

what if from point that didn't exist? --perspective/scale is what makes effect --not just abstract art... needs to make sense


Functional Nonsense

functional nonsense: going through dark corridor to get to viewing... intentionally shocking you

enter in middle of room


Remediation

Digital cameras often enable a photographer to take multiple, successive snapshots of a landscape that may then be "stitched" together with computer software. While this language may come from any number of textile based synthesis procedures, Oettermann notes that weaving mills could not produce single canvases large enough for panorama painting, making it necessary "to sew together a number of strips approximately nine feet wide" (54). panning of camera in film

death because of film?

modern virtual reality - simulator sickness - being unable to grasp actual reality

digital camera

natural history museum exhibits

Moving Panorama

Short life span, (only about 20-30 years), really reminiscent of film...kind of the bridge between the panorama and film...its decline was sudden and final, much like the panorama...modern cinema really does away with these media...

Encoding/Decoding

Encoding techniques of panorama painting differ from those used in pictures viewed in more traditional, gallery environments. An 1863 guide to visual arts explains that “These pictures are intended to be viewed at from a distance, and consequently the lines must be bold, and the contrasts of light and shade very apparent. . .the pupil will notice that those parts which look harsh and coarse when closely examined, are the very portions which give character to the picture when viewed from an appropriate distance” (Urbino 65). Furthermore, instead of a single focus point which eyes could be led towards, the panorama required a multitude of interacting points that led vision around, back and forth, and up or down.

A variety of dead and remediated devices used in eC19 by artists to capture accurate preliminary sketches were employed by panorama artists as well, including the grid based “Alberti’s veil,” or the more expensive camera obscuras and lucidas. To sketch the full 360 degree viewpoint, these devices were rotated and modified; 1803 saw the invention of a panoramagraph, while a curved ruler added to a camera lucida “made it possible to correct in advance the distortions in perspective that would occur when the sketches made on a flat surface were connected and bent into a cylinder” (Oettermann 52). Daguerreotypes and magic lanterns were also used for sketches and their subsequent projection onto a gridded panorama canvas for tracing. Other developments included sheer ingenuity on the team of artists’ part, such as rolling scaffolding around the room to make grids or attaching pencils to “a bamboo pole about fifteen feet long” so that an artist could sketch from the viewing platform; “Anyone standing in front of the canvas. . .cannot tell whether a line is straight or not. . .The curvature. . .means that all lines have to be drawn curved if they are to appear straight” (54).

In spite of this, Oettermann notes that advertisements for panorama "would mention that the creator had used no mechanical aids whatsoever in his work. This made the final illusion achieved seem all the more impressive and also represented a bow towards the prevailing aesthetic theories of the day, which condemned paintings made with mechanical aids as "inartistic"" (52).

need bold lines

fifteen foot pencil

had to have many focal points vs typical one focal point

Advertisements

"the public is respectfully informed"

1849 advertisement

1797 advertisements

(I'll upload that ad I showed you guys.. -Katie)

Formal Prohibitions

who can write? -only certain artists -whole team of anonymous painters Probably all males, all art is gendered

who can read? -inclusive democratic viewing -no vip section -two people could stand back to back and see same piece of art

la la la

mark twain

See world as bourgeois see it

Trying to hide the frame- in the frame

Church with early fresca

Church thing is big

cave paintings

look at history of comm ish
tribal light on wall

moby dick ocean crow's nest

hot air balloon from same time

dewey decimal system for library

root of evil panorama in house

eiffel tower

trying to make real conform to your idea of what the real is

bourgeois

pattern of creating visual image

Citations

  • Barker, Robert, “Specification of the Patent granted to Mr. Robert Barker…Called by Him ‘La Nature à Coup ď Œil,’” in The Repertory of Arts and Manufactures: Consisting of Original Communications, Specifications of Patent Inventions, and Selections of Useful Practical Papers from the Transactions of the Philosophical Societies of All Nations, &c . &c. Vol. 4. London: 1776, pp.165-167.
  • Foucaud, Edward. “The Book of Illustrious Mechanics of Europe and America.” translated by John Frost. D. Appleton & Co., New York: 1847.
  • Oettermann, Stephan. “The Panorama.” Zone Books, New York: 1997.
  • Urbino, L. B. and Henry Day. “Art Recreations: Being a Complete Guide to Pencil Drawing, Oil Painting. . .” J. E. Tilton and company, Boston: 1863.