Created in the 1880s by the American Panorama Company, the enormous battlefield panorama of the Civil War Battle of Atlanta was one of many similar popular entertainments of the era.
At 358 feet in circumference and covering 15,030 square feet, the Atlanta Cyclorama is considered to be the largest oil painting in the world. In the 1930s the considerable effect of the painting was enhanced with the addition of three dimensional characters and objects. Eagle eyed visitors can spot the likeness of Clark Gable standing in for a fallen soldier.
Although once enormously popular, only three significant cycloramas remain in the United States: The Atlanta Cyclorama, the Gettysburg Cyclorama and the Panorama of Versailles on display the the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In California, the petite Velaslavasay Panorama in Los Angeles is a modern recreation of the art.
Although few full-scale panoramas of the hundreds that once lured crowds around the world still exist, there are a few notable survivors: In Wroclaw, Poland, the enormous 120 year old Raclawice Panorama lets you step into the middle of the 1794 Battle of Racławice. In Istanbul, Turkey the Panorama 1453 Museum recreates the epic fall of Constantinople. A more modern example in Damascus, Syria the October War Panorama is dedicated to scenes from the 1973 October War between Israel, Egypt, and Syria.
Update: Cyclorama is relocating to the Atlanta History Center and is expected to open in early 2017.
Know Before You Go
Relocating to Atlanta History Center