Figures in a Parkland
February 26, 2008 10:07 PM   Subscribe

In 1783 a French artist going by the name of Carmontelle created a scroll that was 138 feet long and offered viewers a continuous translucent moving image called "Figures in a Parkland". The Getty Museum beautifully put the scroll on exhibit. Be sure to take a virtual stroll through the images.
posted by derangedlarid (8 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Beautiful. The amount of work that must have gone into that is extraordinary.
posted by meringue at 12:25 AM on February 27, 2008

Where did you get 138 feet? The articles I read all say 12 feet.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:06 AM on February 27, 2008

138 feet?

Yeah, I'm looking at that thinking, "wow, this thing is 10 feet tall."
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:05 AM on February 27, 2008

Carmontelle made more than one scroll:
- "The luminous scenes of verdant parks and splendidly attired people — between 12 and 19 inches deep and up to 138 feet long" (first link)
- "Ms. Chatel de Brancion found seven in her explorations, including a 138-foot-long one that captures the lives of both the working classes and the gentry across" (first link)

The one showed in the last link is obviously not that long. So the post is a bit misleading, but there were such long scrolls, therefore everybody loses.
posted by surrendering monkey at 6:14 AM on February 27, 2008

Wow, this is fabulous. It's like the precursor to the cyclorama and makes you think, aha, so this is where that idea came from. I wish the original story he told had been saved; still, I'm rereading the Baroque Cycle right now and it's great to imagine those characters in this landscape.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:37 AM on February 27, 2008

Cool stuff, thanks for posting!
posted by carter at 1:34 PM on February 27, 2008

Brown University ALSO has a similar scroll of the history of Garibaldi ... they have recently finished digitizing it and it has been documented elsewhere :

and no less than Bruce Sterling, over on Dead Media, commenting last Fall:

This was how history was shared ... fun, eh, kids?
posted by aldus_manutius at 2:16 PM on February 27, 2008

I've read about some similar, later work done by John Banvard.

The book mentioned in the above link, Paul S. Collins's Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn't Change the World, is a very enjoyable read, and explains the shear pulling power of these moving paintings in the pre-film age.
posted by spongeboy at 6:01 PM on February 27, 2008

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