"The Battle of Atlanta" cyclorama (1885-1886) as narrative indicator of a national perspective on the Civil War
Cecchini, Bridget Theresa
Camfield, William A.
Master of Arts
The American Panorama Company's cyclorama, The Battle of Atlanta, portrays an important battle during the Civil War. Representations of this engagement in photographs, illustrations, and history paintings presented isolated episodes, while cycloramas exhibited a sweeping narrative of the actual combat. These popular art attractions had a circular design that enabled artists to render a comprehensive view and exhibit characteristics of traditional history paintings. To ensure profits from its exhibition, the painters contemplated their potential spectators, avoiding antagonistic symbols. They considered contemporary attitudes concerning the war and created a composition that would foster the country's desire for reconciliation. The result was a portrayal of the battle that instructed its audiences on the heroic actions of both Union and Confederate soldiers amid the terrible circumstances of battle. Therefore, The Battle of Atlanta manifests a didactic narrative of the crucial engagement indicative of burgeoning public sentiment toward the Civil War during the 1880s.
American history; Art history