Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CWL---Saving the Gettysburg Cyclorama

Saving the Gettysburg Cyclorama, Gettysburg Foundation, DVD, 60 minutes, 2009. $21.95.

You may have seen it before, but never like it is today. In its nearly 125-year history, the 16,000-square-foot, four ton, 125 year old Gettysburg cyclorama- panorama painting has lost about 40% of its canvas. It's moved around the country half a dozen times. It has been burned. It has been cut up. It has painted over. It has been stored under roofs with only three walls.

The Gettysburg Cyclorama has been restored to its original 377 feet long and 43 high is being hyperbolic shape and is now on display at the Gettysburg Military Park's $125 million visitor center, theatre and museum building.

If you saw it in the old visitors center, you saw a flat canvas in a circle. Now, two years and over $11 millions later, the cyclorama painting has two surface cleaning, the wax and glue backing removed, the old patches over tears removed, and the cracks in the paint restored. It now hangs with a slight bow in the canvas, a convex curve that brings center line of sight almost 18 inches closer to the viewer, who does not now stand at the bottom of the painting and looks up but stands on and elevated platform and looks directly at the center of the painting.

This dvd not only pays attention to the preservation procedures but also to the painting's history and the history of panoramic art that was so popular in the mid-19th century. From Pilippoteaux's first visit to the battlefield, his commissioning of photographs to be taken from a tower erected at the Angle, and finally to his team of painters execution of the work, the dvd is a brief but thorough presentation of art, popular culture and preservation science.

Top Image: Newsday

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