The battle of Atlanta may have been a bleak spot on the southern history but the Atlanta Painting which depicts that very battle captures the American spirit like no other. Better known as the Atlanta Cyclorama it is a circular panoramic painting which is housed in a museum, in Grant Park in Atlanta, Georgia.
Visitors are treated to a visual extraganza when they walk in to see this magnificient painting.The painting is cylindrical in shape and is accessed through an entrance in the floor. After entering the room which houses the painting the visitors are asked to be seated whilst the central cylinder rotates slowly affording a view of the entire painting. The unrolled painting would measure 42 feet high by 358 feet long which makes it the largest oil painting in the world.
The painting tries to capture the fierce battle between confederate defenders and the United States Army during the American Civil War on July 22, 1864.
History of the Atlanta Painting
This remarkable piece of art has an equally remarkable story. It was commissioned by the Vice Presidential candidate John A. Logan who thought it will stir the patriotic feelings of the Atlantans (Logan had commanded a large part of the Union forces in the battle)which in turn will translate in votes for him.Obviously the painting emphasized the heroism of Logan and other Union commanders.
It was painted by a pair of German painters- F.W. Heine and August Lohr. These painters did exhaustive research before they started painting. They also took the pains of consulting Civil War artist and witness Theodore Davis, whom they painted into the work. They finally completed it in 1887.It was exhibited in Detroi that very year.
Subsequentally the Painting was sold to a traveling circus. Eventually when this circus came to Atlanta in the late 1800s, it received a lot of flak as few Atlantans wanted to see a Northern-biased painting that glorified the defeat that would lead to the destruction of their city. Hence the travelling circusí grand plans of attracting crowds through this painting proved to be quite unsuccessful. With little or no attendance, the circus went bankrupt. The circus manager decided to sell most of the companyís assets including the painting and the animals. The animals proved to be a grand attraction at the Zoo Atlanta and the painting was housed in a ramshackle wooden structure next to the zoo for a long time. However, thankfully art connoisseurs soon realised the paintings artistic merit and transferred it to a state-of-the art facility specially designed to protect and conserve the delicate painting.
Today itís the greatest tourist attraction of Atlanta.