The name "panorama" refers to large circular paintings that became fashionable in the 19th century, and of which not many have survived to this day, given their own characteristics and dimensions.
However, one that can still be admired is the Panorama of Raclawice located in the Polish city of Wroclaw. We are facing a canvas of more than 1,700 square meters, since it measures 15 meters high by 114 long, and its layout is circular. That is, you have to look at it from inside that circle, so that the viewers are completely and literally enveloped by the painting.
Raclawice Panorama Exhibition
Raclawice Panorama Detail
Enormous dimensions that show us almost all the episodes of the Battle of Raclawice, in which General Tadeusz Kosciuszko commanded the Polish troops to defeat Russia. In other words, it is a theme of great dynamism and liveliness, which is also reinforced by both the artificial decoration (rocks, earth, natural elements…) and the lighting effects created in the room where it is exhibited. Conceived solely to show this painting that is a pride for the city, and for all Poland, by representing victory against a traditional enemy:Russia.
It was a work that was presented in public in 1894, coinciding with the centenary of the events it relates. Up to 9 painters took part in it, all of them guided by a very popular painter at the time called Jan Styka (1858 -1925) closely advised by Wojciech Kossak(1857 – 1942) specialist in battle paintings.
They worked on the canvas for 9 months and needed about 750 kilos of paint to finish it and finally place it at the National Exhibition in Lviv (which today is the territory of Ukraine, but then it was known as Lwow and it was Poland).
In fact, the great fabric remained there, until the change of national identity of that population, being part of the USSR after the Second War World. And it was clear that the Russians were not going to show defeat in such a way. For that reason he was sent back to Poland and taken to Wroclaw. However, we must not forget that for many years Poland was a state of the communist bloc allied with the USSR. For that reason, for decades the painting was folded and hidden so as not to offend them.
But finally, with the fall of the Iron Curtain, it was shown again in the same location as it is now. A cylindrical building built entirely for the Raclawice Panorama.
Raclawice Panorama Building