Museum Panorama Mesdag Scheveningen and Scriptum Art Books present a new art book: The Painters of the Panorama of Scheveningen. Although the text is in Dutch there are enough pictures and things of interest to justify the book’s inclusion in the column.
The 140th anniversary of the world-famous Panorama of Scheveningen is the reason for the publication: De Schilders van het Panorama van Scheveningen. The book can be seen as the biography of this work of art.
In April 1880, Hendrik Willem Mesdag was given the assignment of a lifetime: to make a panoramic painting with the Scheveningen coast as its subject. Panorama van Scheveningen was open to the public on 1 August 1881. Since that day, it has grown into the oldest panoramic painting that can be visited at its original location and that annually sees around 140,000 visitors from home and abroad pass by.
For the first time, the story of the creation of Mesdag’s Panorama – from commission to its opening in 1881 – is told: from the first pencil sketch to the painted canvas measuring 14.5 meters in height and 114.5 meters in circumference. It becomes clear with what military precision Mesdag devoted himself to this assignment and that the work of art has a turbulent early history.
The richly illustrated publication is a tribute to a special collaboration between five artists. Hendrik Willem Mesdag worked on this assignment together with his wife Sientje Mesdag-van Houten, good friend Bernard Blommers and the at that time still young artists George Hendrik Breitner and Théophile de Bock. A separate chapter is devoted to each of them. Never before has their relationship to Mesdag been studied so extensively: what did their contributions consist of, what did it mean to work with the celebrated master Hendrik Willem Mesdag, and has working on the Panorama influenced their further careers?
The Painters of the Panorama of Scheveningen highlights a lot of new or rather little-known information about these artists and Mesdag’s Panorama. The book is richly illustrated with contemporary photos and images of paintings. Two large fold-out plates show not only the panorama canvas itself in its full glory, but also Mesdag’s mounted pencil sketches and an oil sketch.
The art book The painters of the Panorama of Scheveningen was made possible in the first place by a special bequest from Mr Laurens de Lavieter. Museum director Minke Schat: “In grateful memory we would like to appoint Mr Laurens de Lavieter, who made research and publication possible. Mr. Lavieter was generous and modest with a great love for art and cultural heritage in general and Mesdag in particular. “
The project has also been generously supported by contributions from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the Friends of New Art 1900 Association, Gifted Art, Fondation Custodia, the Friends of Mesdag Foundation and the Hendrik Muller’s Vaderlandsch Fonds Foundation.
New standard work
The publication is the first scientific publication on the Panorama of Scheveningen in almost twenty-five years. Editors Suzanne Veldink and Laura Prins: “Hopefully this book will grow into the new standard work on monumental artwork in the coming years and it will in turn form a solid basis for future research”.