A couple years back I had the opportunity to get an early tour of the Navigating the West : George Caleb Bingham and the River on its stay at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas. There is a little writeup on that exhibit and my first visit to the museum here. What fascinated me even more than getting to see Bingham’s sketches and art mostly all in one place was the inclusion of the giant panorama painting of a trip down the Mississippi River. I am still awed by this thing and it has its own in depth analysis here. It started down a tributary of my own dissertation work as I discovered more and more about this particular panorama and the genre of panoramas in general. They were ubiquitous in Antebellum America and traversed to and from England and Europe. They were full fanfares and had lectures and music accompanist for the full adventure effect.
The year is 1851, you make your way through the streets of Philadelphia to a small theatre where scores of other interested parties are milling around waiting to be allowed in. You deposit your 25 cents for admission (12.5 cents for any children you have in tow) and make your way inside. Continue reading Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley