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Significance of Grand Panoramas (1)

In 1787 the Irishman Robert Parker (1739-1806), who lived in Scotland, patented his invention of what he called “Nature at a glance”, which soon become known as a panorama. His “Nature at a glance” referred to a new experience of nature and a new awareness of life: a 360° panoramic view, in which the heavens and the earth met up, creating an impression of infinity and triggering a sense of happiness.

The invention was adapted to all kinds of panorama formats in the 19th century, from pocket size to wallpaper size to grand panoramas, and all kinds of themes. For a while the panorama became the foremost medium of its day.

The first wave of grand panoramas during the first half of the 19th century depicted first and foremost far-away cities and landscapes.
There followed a second wave after 1880, which mainly portrayed key battles from the Franco-Prussian War. This phase was short-lived. With the advent of film and its moving images, these grand panoramas faced superior competition, and their time was over. The large-scale canvases were put into storage, forgotten or destroyed, and the rotundas pulled down or used for other purposes.

Braun’s own studio rotunda on the Theresienhöhe in Munich burnt down in 1915 as a result of arson. Probably, a number of panoramas by Braun stored there at the time were lost.

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