Monday, February 22, 2010

Banvard's Folly

The wikipedia article about John Banvard discusses the popularity of his Mississippi panorama and describes how wealthy he became by exhibiting it here in this country and abroad.

After his European travels he built an enormous mansion on Long Island:
On his return his invested part of the fortune he had made in 60 acres overlooking Cold Spring Harbor on the North Shore of Long Island, where in 1852-55, in competition with P. T. Barnum's palace "Iranistan" in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he proceeded to design and have built a baronial residence from its eastern shore, which, it was given out, was intended to resemble Windsor Castle; he named the place Glenada, the glen of his daughter Ada, but the locals called it "Banvard's Folly".[1] After his death it became a fashionable resort hotel, The Glenada.
Anyway. Never too early . . . the wiki article on panoramic painting goes into a fair amount of detail on the Romantics' criticism of such "mass" or "pop" culture. Great topic.

1 comment:

Robin Simpson said...

To me, although panoramas were critical pieces of art that left permanant parks on "civilized" culture during the 19th century, they merely served as yet another way for people to experience nature without getting "too close." I don't think that viewing a replica of nature on a canvas leaves anywhere as much a long-lasting, powerful impression on an individual as actually being in nature itself, even if only for a few moments.