The Gettysburg Foundation, in cooperation with the International Panorama Council (IPC), will host the 2011 International Panorama Conference at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center September 14 - 17. The conference will feature two full days of presentations delivered by cyclorama experts from around the globe, along with other activities that include a behind-the-scenes look at Gettysburg’s own cyclorama.
Cycloramas, or panoramas as they are called in Europe, are huge circular paintings that are displayed to create a stunning 3-D effect to viewers standing inside. They were wildly popular in both Europe and America in the 1880’s, and would draw huge crowds that came to see the epic works.
Gettysburg National Military Park is privileged to have one of the most pristine cyclorama paintings on display in the world. The cyclorama housed at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center was the second of four painted by French artist Paul Phillipoteaux and his team of twenty artists. It took almost a year to complete, and was first displayed in Boston in 1884. The painting portrays Pickett’s Charge, the failed confederate assault that secured victory for the union on July 3, 1863.
The theme of the conference is “Preserving and Understanding the Battlefield Panorama Heritage”, which makes the Gettysburg Foundation an especially fitting host. When the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama reopened to the public in September 2008, it had just undergone an exhaustive three- year restoration.
The restoration effort was not just limited to the painting itself, but extended to the reintroduction of the three-dimensional diorama and overhead canopy which adds great depth to the painting. The diorama extends the landscape by blending seamlessly into the canvas, while the canopy blocks everything above the top of the painting. This gives visitors a feeling of being immersed in the scene when they view the painting from the central platform. The restoration of the canvas, along with the installment of the diorama and canopy make Gettysburg’s painting the only true cyclorama in the United States.
The conference will truly be international, with speakers from Germany, Hungary, Brazil and the United States. Past IPC Conferences have taken place in Istanbul, Brussels and London. The 2011 IPC Conference in Gettysburg will be only the third to be held in the United States since the first conference in 1992. If you are interested in attending the conference or would like to find out more, visit www.gettsyburgfoundation.org or call 717-339-2153.
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