I went to the first of a series of Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery by Tim Barringer, the Paul Mellon Professor at Yale, on the subject of Global Landscape in the Age of Empire. It was a highly intelligent and thoughtful exposition of the phenomenon of panoramas, which were extremely fashionable in the late eighteenth centuries, patented by George Barker and shown to dramatic effect in special installations in the streets off Leicester Square: sensational use of art to show off different corners of the globe. It’s a technology equivalent to the Imax cinema – strong on visual impact. He was right to end with Lisa Reihana’s epic video installation in the Oceania exhibition, which used a traditional technology of panoramas to good, but deliberately subversive, effect.


4 thoughts on “Panoramas

  1. Richard Bram says:

    Reihana’s film was one of the greatest highlights of the exhibition. It also brought to mind another massive panoramic creation – film, animation, music – that we had just seen at CaSa in San Agustin Etla in Oaxaca: “More Sweetly Play the Dance” by South African film-maker and artist William Kentridge. It was absolutely hypnotic – I watched it through twice and didn’t wish to leave. For a hint of the experience:

  2. Camilla FitzGibbon says:

    Have you been to the panorama in The Hague, painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag and his wife Sientje, depicting Scheveningen in 1881?

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