„Pleasure’s Purest Cup“ für alle

Der Mediendialog der Hudson River School mit dem Panorama, dem Diorama und dem bewegten Panorama

  • Joel Fischer (Autor/in)


The essay focuses on the relation between the landscape paintings of the Hudson River School artists and the emerging mass media during the nineteenth century in North America. This intermedia reference has often been stated but the authors have merely concentrated on isolated paintings or types of mass media such as the circular panorama. Besides from offering a summary of those approaches, this essay's aim is to go further into the search for answers for general visual formulas indicating this dialogue between painting and the mass media. The circular panorama, the diorama and the moving panorama are therefore shortly introduced to juxtapose their main formal aspects and visual novelty with the representation of landscape by various artists, such as Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt and others. As a result the author takes into focus three visual strategies related to each of the three discussed types of mass media. Accentuated foregrounds ('Detailinseln'), the depiction of elusive phenomena like sunsets, clouds or fog ('transitorisches Bild'), and 'a simulated voyage within the image' ('Bildreise') are thus introduced as visual formulas connected with the circular panorama, the diaorama and the moving panorama. In light of this Thomas Coles’ Essay on American Scenery and his therein expressed criticism of the unsympathetic attitude of his contemporaries towards nature is discussed as one possible origin of the preassigned dialogue between the mass media and the Hudson River School artists.