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The challenge of the sublimeFrom Burke's Philosophical Enquiry to British Romantic art$
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Hélène Ibata

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526117397

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526117397.001.0001

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Immersive spectatorship at the panorama and the aesthetics of the sublime

Immersive spectatorship at the panorama and the aesthetics of the sublime

Chapter:
(p.147) 5 Immersive spectatorship at the panorama and the aesthetics of the sublime
Source:
The challenge of the sublime
Author(s):

Hélène Ibata

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526117397.003.0006

Chapter 5 focuses on what appears to be one of the most conscious responses to the Burkean challenge: the invention of the panorama by the Irish-Scottish painter Robert Barker in the late 1780s. By literally removing the edges of representation, and immersing its viewers within an uninterrupted circular view, the panorama created a striking illusion of reality which, at least while the medium was still novel, caused unprecedented spectatorial thrills. While the medium could be linked to a tradition of illusion and immersion which predated the Enlightenment reflexion on the sublime, Barker clearly saw its relevance as a means to deny the limitations of painting. The chapter’s analyses of programmes, narratives and descriptions of panoramas by Robert Barker, Henry Aston Barker, Robert Ker Porter and Robert Burford suggest that this conception of the panorama as the most adequate pictorial vehicle of the sublime was to endure for several decades.

Keywords:   Panorama, Immersion, Spectacle, Limitlessness, Natural sublime, Historical sublime

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