“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).
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.
Synthesis of Artistic Disciplines
Sketching and Painting
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).
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
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
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: going through dark corridor to get to viewing... intentionally shocking you
enter in middle of room
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
natural history museum exhibits
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...
need bold lines
fifteen foot pencil
had to have many focal points vs typical one focal point
"the public is respectfully informed"
(I'll upload that ad I showed you guys.. -Katie)
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
See world as bourgeois see it
Trying to hide the frame- in the frame
Church with early fresca
Church thing is big
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
trying to make real conform to your idea of what the real is
pattern of creating visual image
- 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.