John Vanderlyn, 1775-1852. USA:
The PANORAMA OF VERSAILLES 1819 at the Metropolitan museum N.Y.

His work
The pictures on Visipix: More Information:
We had a week in the New York museums, the Frick (did not permit photos), the Whitney, the Museum of Modern Art. Then the Metropolitan - the first museum ever allowing to take photos with a tripod. Next time, end of April, I will have one with me.

Here maybe not a highlight of art – but something that makes you dream of so many things which could have happened in life in other times at other places.

It was the "First Empire" of France (1804-1815), in which Napoleon Buonaparte (1769-1821) became the new emperor. He replaced the violent French revolution with violent imperialism. The revolution had perverted into extremely bloody fundamentalism and disorder. It betrayed the concept of a globalism of human rights and liberal ideas. People wanted order and accepted that globalism was replaced by its bad sister: called imperialism. Swords replaced words.

At that time, Vanderlyn painted the Versailles panorama. Versailles was synonymous with feudalism – remembered as the worst form of feudalism. Marie Antoinette was “that queen” in Versailles who allegedly said: “If the poor have no bread, tell them to eat cakes”. The revolutionaries and all liberals despised Versailles. Napoleon was imperial, but in a different, new scientific way. America today can only dream of Napoleons legal system. But, helas, Napoleon never conquered America.
The Versailles panorama was always a great misunderstanding. Wrong subject. Wrong time. Besides the point. Besides the shoes.

I enjoy the Empire panorama the same way I enjoy the music of Chopin. I cannot accept the political philosophy of the two artists. Both offer me dreams in a world in which I cannot stay. Nevertheless: Thanks for the dreams.

When John Vanderlyn made his panorama it was not new art pointing to political progress. Today, all this is history, and we can enjoy the panorama from a political context which is totally opposite to our world.

Of course it would be nice to stroll in a park, flirt, kiss, play, talk nonsense, impress ladies with excellent manners and a shiny uniform plus a moustache – far away from the real world and social responsibilities. This panorama offers you a little bit of time in such illusions.