Friday, October 22, 2010
The Painting Of Gettysburg
The Gettysburg Cyclorama was painted by French artist Paul Philippoteaux, showing the July 3rd 1863 Confederate charge on the Union center during the Battle of Gettysburg. There were originally four copies of the painting, two of which are known to survive. The cyclorama is a 360 degree painting designed to make the viewer feel that they are in the scene. The completed painting was twenty-two feet high and two hundred seventy-nine feet around. The painting was commissioned in 1879 by a group of investors in Chicago.
Philippoteaux went to the Gettysburg battlefield in April 1882, sketching, photographing and researching the events. Local Gettysburg photographer William H Tipton built a tower along Hancock Avenue and shot panoramic photos. Philippoteaux interviewed battle survivors and based some of his work on their memories. With a team of five assistants the painting took over a year and half to complete.
The painting opened to the public October 22nd 1883 in Chicago. Union General John Gibbon was among the veterans who reviewed the cyclorama highly. Many old soldiers said it was so realistic they wept when they saw it. Seeing the success of the painting, there were copies made for Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, New York. The Boston copy of the painting was purchased by the National Park Service in 1942. The painting was restored and moved into a new home at the new Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, and opened to the public in September 2008.