“Cultural Heritage and Spectacle: Painted and Digital Panoramic Re-Presentations of Versailles” Essay Published

Detail of John Vanderlyn’s Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, 1819 (top) and Detail of Google World Wonders Project (Palace and Park of Versailles), 2012 (bottom). Image capture: Seth Thompson.

Detail of John Vanderlyn’s Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, 1819 (top) and Detail of Google World Wonders Project (Palace and Park of Versailles), 2012 (bottom). Image capture: Seth Thompson.

My essay entitled, “Cultural Heritage and Spectacle: Painted and Digital Panoramic Re-Presentations of Versailles” has recently been published in Streetnotes: Ethnography, Poetry and the Documentary Experience (Volume 25).

For an overview, here’s the journal article’s abstract:

By comparing and contrasting two panoramic projects of Versailles, one being a painted panorama by John Vanderlyn (1775-1852) completed in 1819 and the other, part of Google’s World Wonders Project launched in 2012, this paper will examine the notion of heritage as a tangible entity, experiential consumable, and identity maker, and show how heritage sites and the panorama (both painted and digital) act as a spectacle that seeks to fulfill the needs and desires of its visitors to consume past and present cultural landscapes.

If you would like to read the essay, please visit:
http://escholarship.org/uc/item/339598d3

Thompson, Seth. 2016. “Cultural Heritage and Spectacle: Painted and Digital Panoramic Re-
Presentations of Versailles.” Streetnotes: Ethnography, Poetry and the Documentary Experience (Volume 25): 353-365. url: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/339598d3. Published Online: November 3, 2016.

Panorama of the Nave at Saint George Cathedral in Boston, Massachusetts

Saint George Cathedral in Boston, Massachusetts is a new addition to the Sacred Spaces of New England project. Organized in 1908, Saint George Cathedral is the first Albanian Orthodox Church in the United States and the largest Orthodox Christian house of worship in the state of Massachusetts.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the Saint George Cathedral’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Analog immersive environments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Two works of art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio” (1478–82) designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini and “Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles” (1818-19) painted by John Vanderlyn are excellent pieces to be used in the evolving construction of the history of media art puzzle. Both of these works create an artificial realm that integrates the observer in a 360-degree immersive environment utilizing illusion and space to give the viewer the impression of being at a location—both real and imagined.

Detail of "Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles" (1818-19)

Detail of “Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles” (1818-19) by John Vanderlyn. Retrieved from: http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/20013426

 

John Vanderlyn’s “Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles“, which measures 12 x 165 feet (circumference) presenting a circular panoramic view of the grounds of the French royal palace, is one of the earliest American panorama paintings known to have survived in its entirety. Using curvilinear perspective, the painting’s intent was to give patrons the illusion of being in the midst of Versailles. Placing himself in the painting, Vanderlyn can be seen pointing to Czar Alexander I and King Frederick William II of Prussia near the Basin de Latone.

Detail of "Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio" (1478–82)

Detail of “Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio” (1478–82) designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini. Retrieved from http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/120013532

Francesco di Giorgio Martini’s “Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio” utilizes a perspectival wood-inlay technique to create a virtual space of a sixteen by twelve foot study or library that displays a stunning array of objects—from musical instruments to astronomical tools to armor and insignia—meaningful to the duke of Urbino, Federico de Montefeltro for whom this was created. Intended as a place for meditation and study, the coherent perspectival design of its paneling along with the dramatic use of light and shadow, creates a unified space that is immediately understood by the viewer—creating an illusion of a place in time.

Both of these works may be found in the Museum’s permanent gallery exhibition spaces.

References:

Metropolitan Museum of Art. (No Date). Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio. (Retrieved on September 11, 2012 from http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/120013532).

Metropolitan Museum of Art. (No Date). Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles. (Retrieved on September 11, 2012 from http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/20013426).

Raggio, O., Wilmering, A. (1996). The Liberal Arts Studiolo from the Ducal Palace at Gubbio. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Spring 1996. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Vanderlyn, J., Ten Eyck Gardner, A., Majewski, L. (1956). The panoramic view of the palace and gardens of Versailles painted by John Vanderlyn : the original sketches of which were taken at the spot, by him, in the autumn of 1814. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.