The First Panoramas is a cultural history of the first three decades of the panorama, a three-hundred-sixty-degree visual medium patented by the artist Robert Barker in Britain in 1787. A towering two-story architectural construction inside which spectators gazed on a 10,000-square-foot painting, Barker\u2019s new technology was designed to create an impression of total verisimilitude for the observer. In the beautifully illustrated The First Panoramas, Denise Blake Oleksijczuk demonstrates the complexity of the panoramas\u2019 history and cultural impact, exploring specific exhibits: View of Edinburgh and the Adjacent Country from the Calton Hill (1788), View of London from the Roof of the Albion Mill (1791), View of the Grand Fleet Moored at Spithead (1793), and the two different versions of View of Constantinople (1801). In addition to the art itself, she examines the panoramas\u2019 intriguing descriptive keys-single-sheet diagrams that directed spectators to important sites in the representation, which evolved over time to give the observer greater perceptual control over the view.Using the surviving evidence, much of it never published before, on the early exhibitions of these massive installations, Oleksijczuk reconstructs the relationships between specific paintings, their accompanying printed guides, and the collective experiences of different audiences. She argues that by transporting its spectators to increasingly distant locations, first in the city and country and then in the world beyond Britain\u2019s borders, the panorama created a spatial and temporal disjunction between \u201chere\u201d and \u201cthere\u201d that helped to forge new national and social identities.
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 635 g
Dimensions: 254 x 216 x 18 mm
"During the last decade the new field of panorama studies has achieved a great deal, though many accounts of this important and elusive form of visual representation are still marked by misleading generalizations. Denise Blake Oleksijczuk's impressive The First Panoramas carries panorama research to a new level of material and historical specificity. Clearly it is a work that will be indispensable for anyone studying this topic and readers will be rewarded by its exemplary combination of archival investigation and theoretical reflection." -Jonathan Crary, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory, Columbia University
"The First Panoramas is a substantial and fascinating book that offers new ways of looking at the panoramic culture of early nineteenth century Britain. It combines a very detailed historical analysis with readings of individual panoramic works." -Lynda Nead, Birkbeck University of London