Panorama Mesdag

Den Haag

Home to the Panorama (1881), an immense, 14m-high, 360-degree painting of the sea, dunes and fishing village of Scheveningen, this museum is one of Den Haag's most unusual cultural attractions. The work, which is 120m in circumference, was created by Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831–1915), a member of the Impressionist-influenced Hague School of painters. Viewed from an upper platform, it gives the illusion that the viewer is high on a dune looking at the scene.

Mesdag's creation is the oldest 19th-century panorama still displayed in its (purpose-built) original location. He, his artist wife Sientje Mesdag–Van Houten (1834–1909) and three other painters worked on mobile scaffolding to create the scene on 18 large pieces of canvas that had been sewn together. Using panoramic photographs as a base reference, the extremely realistic depiction of Scheveningen was lit by natural light from concealed skylights and wowed the public when it opened as a tourist attraction in August 1881. A downstairs gallery gives background on the panorama's creation.

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