The Cyclorama by Paul Dominique Phillipoteaux at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum

The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum offered a pleasant surprise.  In all my years of studying art history, I had never heard of a Cyclorama.  I have seen large murals and paintings of battles in person and in reproductions, but never something of this undertaking.  My photographs do not even capture the enormous grandeur of this painting.  Wrapped around a dome interior, the exhibit included a diorama of dirt, cannons, and weapons at the bottom of the painting.  A flat surface ends when reality begins.  Phillipoteaux turned three days worth of battles  into both a spectacle and a simulation.

After viewing the painting, viewers go through a hallway full of information on Phillipoteaux, the battles, inaccuracies found in the painting, advertisements, and ticket stubs for the Cyclorama.

The museum also had an exhibit that gave an hour by hour tour of the Gettysburg battles that showcased paintings, ceramics, sketches, and of course photography.  The photography consisted mostly of portraits of people who lived during this event.  The end of the show provided a ceiling to floor collage of men who served.  The resulting tribute creates an atmosphere of ghostly images with stoic faces and piercing eyes.

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