The tradition of panorama painting

The PANORAMA VIENNA combines the fascinating tradition of the panorama with a unique experience factor, creating a completely new form of attraction for visitors to the Vienna Prater. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of giant panoramas and be inspired by natural landscapes and historical events – presented in breathtaking perspective!

The panorama, once an extremely popular pictorial medium of the 19th century, impressed with its huge works of art that showed landscapes, battles or historical events in a hitherto unique, perspectival and all-encompassing representation. These captivating images were presented in special exhibition buildings – the so-called rotundas – and were so lifelike that the boundaries between reality and image content became blurred for the viewer.

The idea of panorama painting and the term “panorama” originally go back to the Irish painter Robert Barker, who patented the technique in the 19th century. His staging of the giant panoramas in combination with viewing platforms and real natural objects made the panorama an extremely successful and popular form of entertainment: it quickly spread to metropolises such as Paris – including Vienna – and became a new cultural attraction for the emerging bourgeoisie, who developed an interest in distant places and events as a result of the industrial revolution.

The panorama was described as the first mass medium, as it could be viewed by anyone and was comprehensible to everyone thanks to its realistic depiction. It offered a fascinating opportunity to travel to distant locations and experience historical events up close – as if you were actually there. In order to reproduce the historical reality as authentically as possible, the depictions required extensive research, precision and attention to detail.

Over time, the themes of the panoramas changed from landscapes to historical events, especially battles. With the advent of photography, cinema and illustrated newspapers, the panorama temporarily faded into the background in the 1830s, but later experienced a renaissance – especially during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, whose battles provided new motifs and encouraged patriotism.

Although modern media displaced the panorama in the 20th century, the phenomenon experienced a revival from the 1970s onwards. This renaissance has now reached a new peak with the PANORAMA VIENNA in the Vienna Prater: here, the tradition of the panorama is reinterpreted using state-of-the-art methods to enchant visitors with the unique and captivating effect of the panorama experience and allow them to immerse themselves deeply in the impressive universe of images and stories. At PANORAMA VIENNA, history can be experienced with all the senses – a unique experience for the whole family that will live long in the memory.

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