• Panorama Rouen 1431
    created by Yadegar Asisi in 2016
    photo © asisi

Panorama Mesdag brought to life and on the move

Saturday, 03 October 2015

As part of the festivities celebrating Mesdag’s 100-year-old cultural legacy, a team of Panorama Mesdag, the Netherlands branch of Samsung, and Dutch documentary filmmaker and video artist Menno Otten have worked up the Mesdag Panorama into an all new experience: a digitalized version is on show on 14 enormous Samsung Curved S-UHD screens, each one meter high and with a diagonal of 2.2 meter (88 inch).

(by Ernst M. Storm)

The 360 degree screen placing and the surround sound make the visitor part of the Hague’s shoreline, where Mesdag sketched his panorama. But there is an even more tantalizing experience, because Menno Otten designed several adaptations, adding seasonal changes and subtle movements, making the panorama ‘move’ and travel through time. 

In ‘Moving Mesdag’ there is smoke from a steamer on the horizon, horses trot on the beach, and the wind starts to play a role in the originally static and silent panorama experience. Now not only the daily changes in the weather conditions are notable, but very slowly the panorama turns from day to night, and encounters all seasons of the year several times on the same day.

Digital artist Otten merges the professional facilities of Samsung with the Mesdag family cultural heritage into a new experience. It was first on show in Amsterdam in August, during several cultural highlights, including the great maritime SAIL’15 experience and a place right between the Rijks Museum (photo) and the recently enlarged Van Gogh Museum. More travelling is being planned, and will be announced on www.panorama-mesdag.com.

Amsterdam was one of the only two other places the painted panorama ever travelled to in its early years. The German panorama production center of Munich was the other. The virtual travels are closely related to the roots of the 19th century panorama phenomenon, traveling the world, attracting and fascinating millions of people. Mesdag’s panorama, however, only traveled twice, and was afterwards restored by the artist himself, who also took care of the exploitation of it until a few years before his death. This greatly helped to keep it in top condition. Now it is the oldest surviving real panorama in the world, still in its original location at Zeestraat 65, in the center of The Hague, attracting some 140,000 visitors each year. In the late 19th century, Mesdag put the city on the cultural map, both nationally and internationally. In addition to being a marine painter, Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915) was an entrepreneur, collector, organizer, Maecenas, and an important source of inspiration for many painters from The Hague School.

Until 4 October 2015 ‘Mesdags owned by the family’ decorate the traditional and the new rooms in Panorama Mesdag. From 19 October – 6 March 2016 an exposition of antique stereo photographs from The Hague will be on show, and from 19 October – 20 March 2016 a new collection ‘Sartorial Statues’ by Peter George d’Angelino Tap, stressing the different use of color between H.W. Mesdag and Vincent van Gogh. His monumental haute couture is always in a dialogue with an imaginary environment. Trying to escape trend and time, multi-artist d’Angelino Tap is a fashion designer whose designs found their way to the world of theater, opera, and ballet – and now panoramas.