Cosmoramas by Hubert Sattler – Archaeology and Fought Over Locations


The Salzburg Panorama has always been a main attraction, and its re-opening in 2005 was the cause of a great increase in interest and appreciation of the cosmorama paintings by Hubert Sattler as well. This is all the more striking, because not so long ago they were dismissed as fusty old curiosities. Like the Panorama they are among the forerunners of modern mass media, bringing the trend that replaced the wealthy art patron of yore with the “man in the street”.

The cosmoramas were designed to be enjoyed as visual “infotainment” for people who were eager to learn. What they saw was explained and supplemented by detailed commentaries. Originally, the illusion was reinforced by an optical device, transporting visitors to the farthest regions of the globe. From 1840 to 1870, Sattler took to the road with his paintings and showed them in numerous towns and cities; from 1850 to 1852 he also toured the United States with great success.

Bit by bit, the Salzburg Museum is continuing its exploration of the preserved inventory of 136 cosmoramas in annually changing theme groups. Great Cities, Mountain Worlds, Salzburg, The Orient, Oceans and Deserts are now followed by Archaeology and Fought Over Locations. The latter will create a link to military events from more recent history – a project commemorating the centenary of the First World War. 

Archaeology

  
In the first half of the nineteenth century, archaeology also became established as a separate faculty in academe, covering various disciplines (prehistory, Classical archaeology, Egyptology, etc.). Not only the specialist public but also people in general became enthralled by spectacular archaeological discoveries, made accessible through illustrated expedition reports. Meanwhile, excavations and the presentation of archaeological finds in museums carried a great deal of prestige and were accordingly exploited as important elements of imperialist image cultivation, especially among the rivalling Great Powers in Europe.

Sattler’s cosmoramas showing archaeological sites also testify to an initial wave of tourism extending to the historic monuments left by the cultures and civilisations of the Mediterranean region and America. What had previously been visited only by bold adventurers and explorers had now become a destination accessible to the educated (haute) bourgeoisie as well. In 1841 – the time of Sattler’s travels – the Englishman Thomas Cook introduced the package holiday for tourists.

Sattler’s cosmoramas take on an intermediary role between accurate scientific documentation, artistic landscape compositions, and touristic cinema ads.

 

The ruins of Baalbek in Syria, with Mount Lebanon in the background, 1846, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9086-49
The ruins of Baalbek in Syria, with Mount Lebanon in the background, 1846, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9086-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The ruins of Baalbek in Syria, with Mount Lebanon in the background


During his first journey to the Orient in 1842, Hubert Sattler also visited Damascus in Syria and the Mount Lebanon range. Thanks to Ida Pfeiffer (1797–1858) from Vienna we have knowledge of his route and the report about Sattler’s grave illness when crossing Mount Lebanon. The temple precinct of the Heliopolitan Jupiter was erected in the first century AD. Today it is situated on the outskirts of the city of Baalbek in the state of Lebanon in the embattled Beqaa Valley.

The ruins of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens, 1855, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9048-49
The ruins of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens, 1855, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9048-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The ruins of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens

 

Sattler shows various buildings located on the castle hill and most important sacred precinct of Athens, including the Parthenon (the temple of the city’s patron goddess Athena Parthenos), the Erechtheion and the Propylaia (the gateway of the castle) in the direction of Piraeus. The “Elgin Marbles” had already been removed in 1801. In 1832 King Otto I designated the Acropolis as an archaeological site. He had the medieval and Ottoman buildings removed, so that the ancient ruins of the “Periclean Age” dominated the appearance of the Acropolis.

The ruins of Karnak in Thebes, Upper Egypt, 1868, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9071-49
The ruins of Karnak in Thebes, Upper Egypt, 1868, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9071-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The ruins of Karnak in Thebes, Upper Egypt

   

An overwhelming view is presented from the first courtyard into the interior of the largest temple complex of the New Kingdom in Egypt. Amun-Ra was magnified from being a Theban divinity into a god of the Kingdom, and the city of Thebes developed into the capital of Egypt, with an estimated population of one million in its heyday. The illustrated structural components encompass a building history of more than eight hundred years. The sanctuary was in use for more than two thousand years, the ruins have survived until today.

The ruins of Luxor Temple in Thebes, 1851, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 7141-49
The ruins of Luxor Temple in Thebes, 1851, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 7141-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The ruins of Luxor Temple in Thebes


The picturesque view from the banks of the Nile shows the various structural components of this New Kingdom temple complex dedicated to the god Amun. The building sequence was constantly extended over a thousand years until reaching a length of 260 metres. The obelisk, tower-type pylons, columned courtyards and passages follow on from one another as in a procession. The counterpart of the obelisk today adorns the Place de la Concorde in Paris. In Sattler’s time, parts of the complex were still built over.

The Memnon Colossi at the time of the floods in Upper Egypt, 1846, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9075-49
The Memnon Colossi at the time of the floods in Upper Egypt, 1846, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9075-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The Memnon Colossi at the time of the floods in Upper Egypt

 

The Colossi of Memnon are two seated statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1387–1351 BC). They were installed in front of the pylons of his mortuary temple, the foundations of which have been undergoing research since the 1960s. They were already named after the Ethiopian King Memnon from the Iliad during the Ptolemaic period. At the time, sounds of lamentation could be heard at sunrise, apparently caused by air rising in the fissures in the statues.

The temple of Medinet Habu in Thebes, Upper Egypt, 1858, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9074-49
The temple of Medinet Habu in Thebes, Upper Egypt, 1858, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9074-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The temple of Medinet Habu in Thebes, Upper Egypt

  

Columns of an Early Christian church that was integrated later lie in the second courtyard of Pharaoh Ramesses III’s mortuary temple. The post holes for the roof of this added structure can still be seen in the cornice. Today the courtyard has been cleared. The inscriptions at the edge of the Osiris columns with the king’s name cartouches have been wonderfully preserved. The faces of the figural hieroglyphics are turned towards the beginning of the sentence. The Osiris portrayals in the middle of the columns were removed by Christians when the church was built.

 

The Abu Simbel rock temple in Nubia, external view, 1846, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no.9072-49
The Abu Simbel rock temple in Nubia, external view, 1846, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no.9072-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The Abu Simbel rock temple in Nubia, external view

   
Excavators or antiquarian authorities restored many of the archaeological sites shown here to reflect a specific period of time, and simultaneously removed later additions. In the 1960s, the two temples of Abu Simbel were relocated in their entirety to rescue them from being flooded by the new water reservoir of Lake Nasser. Pharaoh Ramesses II, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, appears four times on the façade with countless graffiti (see statue centre at the right).

The theatre of Taormina with Mount Etna in Sicily, 1846, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9032-49
The theatre of Taormina with Mount Etna in Sicily, 1846, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9032-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The theatre of Taormina with Mount Etna in Sicily


Tauromenium once had a Greek theatre. In the second century AD it was remodelled into a Roman theatre holding around 10,000 people. The view onto the sea was closed off by a scaenae frons. Sattler shows a relatively precise view of its state in the nineteenth century, although he altered the foreground – as seen in views by the Salzburg painter Georg Pezolt (1810–1878) and by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793–1865).

The forum in Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius in the background, 1850, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9021-49
The forum in Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius in the background, 1850, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9021-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The forum in Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius in the background

  
The city of Pompeii at the foot of Mount Vesuvius was destroyed by the volcano eruption of 79 AD and covered by a layer of pumice and ash up to 25 metres thick. The city was successively excavated from 1748 on; Sattler’s view shows its forum behind truncated columns in the foreground. Opposite is the Capitolium, the Temple of Jupiter. The painting was restored by Sandra Dzialek in 2013, which revealed a second painting under the top layer.

Rome seen from the ruins of the imperial palaces on the Palatine Hill, 1861, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9003-49
Rome seen from the ruins of the imperial palaces on the Palatine Hill, 1861, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9003-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Rome seen from the ruins of the imperial palaces on the Palatine Hill

  

The Forum Romanum represents the hub of Ancient Rome’s political history: starting with the Etruscan kings, it developed into the early “peasant farmers” republic, then became the imperial seat of government in the Empire and afterwards the centre of Christianity. The medieval landscape of ruins and the pastoral meadows of modern times became a tourist hotspot and the stage for Italian Fascism. Hubert Sattler assembled this view from four drawings made in 1845.

 

The ruins of Labná in Yucatán, Central America, 1866, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 7142-49
The ruins of Labná in Yucatán, Central America, 1866, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 7142-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The ruins of Labná in Yucatán, Central America

  
The ruins of the city of the Mayas were rediscovered in 1842 by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood. Stephens’ Incidents of Travel in Yucatán was published in 1843, and Catherwood’s Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatán was a bestseller with the European public in 1844. In 1866 Hubert Sattler used Catherwood’s drawing of the gate building as model for his cosmorama. During its heyday from the seventh to the ninth century, Labná had a population of around 2,000.

The temple of Tulum in Yucatán, Central America, 1856, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 5654-49
The temple of Tulum in Yucatán, Central America, 1856, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 5654-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The temple of Tulum in Yucatán, Central America

 

In 1518, the Spanish seafarer Juan de Grijalva explored the east coast of Mexico in four ships. His chaplain Juan Diaz described a fortified urban settlement on the coast of Yucatán that was the size of Seville in Andalusia. It was most probably the first European description of Tulum. The modern tourist location of today has 10,000 inhabitants and is situated around 130 kilometres south of Cancún. It is not known whether Sattler visited the Maya cities in Yucatán himself.

Fought Over Locations

  
In Hubert Sattler’s cosmoramas the theme of war is generally notable for its absence. He accentuates the landscape so that it stands out in an illuminated position. Fighting, conflict and war have no place in his pictures as subject matter; they depict topographical or regional characteristics. Nevertheless, in Sattler’s texts for the pictures we find occasional flashes illuminating historical and military events.

For the exhibition “War. Trauma. Art. Salzburg and the First World War”, the Salzburg Museum is showing sites stored in our memory and attitudes formed through today’s publications as theatres of war or fought over locations, conflict zones not only in military terms, but also in religious and economic respects.

Interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, 1843, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9080-49
Interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, 1843, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9080-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Jerusalem

 

Jerusalem was conquered many times in the past millennia. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed around 100 and on reconstruction given more or less the form it has today. In 1917 the city was taken over peacefully by British troops. From 1947 to 1967 it was partitioned into Israeli West and Jordanian East Jerusalem. The Second Intifada (2000) started on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Cairo, Salah El Din Square in front of the citade, 1850, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 41-62
Cairo, Salah El Din Square in front of the citade, 1850, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 41-62Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Cairo

 

Cairo was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in April 1517. On 1 March 1811, Muhammad Ali Pasha ordered a massacre under the Mamluks. Between 1883 and 1936, the city was headquarters of the British consul general or the High Commissioner for Egypt, the actual ruler on the Nile. President Anwar El Sadat was assassinated in Cairo by Islamists in autumn 1981. Since early 2011, there have been numerous demonstrations in the city (Tahrir Square).

The Bosporus with Constantinople, viewed from the Asian side, 1854, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9090-49-49
The Bosporus with Constantinople, viewed from the Asian side, 1854, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9090-49-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Constantinople/Istanbul

 

On 29 May 1453, Constantinople, until then Byzantine, was taken by the Ottomans. An attempt to re-take it by Bulgarian troops failed in 1912; however, the city was occupied by the Allies from 1918 to 1923. Between 1986 and 2003, there were several terrorist attacks with many fatalities. In 2013, nation-wide protests spread against the erection of buildings in the municipal Gezi Park.

 

Alhambra near Granada in Spain, 1867, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 6082-49
Alhambra near Granada in Spain, 1867, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 6082-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Granada

 

Granada was ruled by the Moors from 711 to 1492. Already occupied by Franco’s troops in 1936, the city was heavily damaged in parts during the Spanish Civil War. After the city fell, the Falangist death squads rampaged through the streets. In 1984 the Alhambra and the Palacio de Generalife and in 1994 the district of Albaicín were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The port and stronghold of Veracruz in Mexiko, 1862, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9063-49
The port and stronghold of Veracruz in Mexiko, 1862, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9063-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Veracruz

 

Hernán Cortés founded the first Spanish settlement on the American continent on 22 April 1519 in close proximity to today’s city. In May 1683 Veracruz was plundered by Dutch pirates. It was occupied by US troops during the Mexican-American War in March 1847, and yet again in April 1914. The new Mexican Constitution was proclaimed here in 1917.

Cádiz, 1867, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 5059-49
Cádiz, 1867, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 5059-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Cádiz

 

Sir Francis Drake attacked Cádiz, the port of the Spanish silver fleet, in April 1587 and destroyed the Spanish fleet moored in the harbour. In July 1596 the English admiral Earl Charles Howard conquered and plundered the city itself. In August 1936 the first aircraft plus crew from Hitler’s Germany arrived by ship to transport Franco’s soldiers from Africa to Spain.

 

Baracoa on Cuba, 1854, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9054-49
Baracoa on Cuba, 1854, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9054-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Baracoa

 

The city of Baracoa was founded by the first Spanish governor on 15 August 1511. It was the capital of Cuba only until 1515. The city was not connected to the Cuban road network until a mountain road was constructed in the 1960s. The neighbouring Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa mountain range is part of the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park and is known as a region of exceptional natural beauty deserving special protection.

View from the Ryders Hotel in West Point on the Hudson River in the United States, 1853, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9065-49
View from the Ryders Hotel in West Point on the Hudson River in the United States,Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

West Point

 

George Washington commissioned the first fort to be built in West Point. It was converted into a military academy in 1802. Women have taught at West Point Military Academy since 1968, and since 1976 women as well as men have been trained for careers as officers in the US Army. It is still compulsory for the 4,000 or so students to stay unmarried during the four years of training.

View from the highest peak of the Rock of Gibralter in Spain, 1869, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9045-49
View from the highest peak of the Rock of Gibralter in Spain, 1869, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9045-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Gibraltar

 

On 25 April 1607, during the Dutch War of Independence (also called the Spanish-Netherlands War), the Dutch destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Bay of Gibraltar. The Rock has been under English rule since the occupation of Gibraltar on 4 August 1704 in the War of Spanish Succession. The port was an important fleet base not only during the Second World War, but also in the Falkland and Gulf Wars.

Views of Moscow with the Kremlin, 1860/70, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9047-49
Views of Moscow with the Kremlin, 1860/70, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9047-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Moscow

 

From 1712 to 1918, St Petersburg and not Moscow was the capital of Russia. In September 1812 Napoleon’s army reached the city and occupied it for a few weeks. During the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917, riots and fights broke out in Moscow as well. Starting in mid-1941 the city was bombed by the German Air Force; nevertheless, the German attempts to conquer the city failed.

View from Montserrat in Catalonia, 1868, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9016-49
View from Montserrat in Catalonia, 1868, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9016-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Montserrat

 

The Benedictine abbey Montserrat was founded in the eleventh century and in 1811 practically destroyed by Napoleon’s troops. Refurbished and extended between 1945 and 1947, it has always been a site of Catalonian national sentiment. In 1970, hundreds of artists and intellectuals gathered in the abbey, among them Joan Miró, protesting against the death penalty and Franco’s dictatorship.

Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, viewed from the citadel, 1893, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9030-49
Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, viewed from the citadel, 1893, oil on canvas, Salzburg Museum, inv.-no. 9030-4949Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

Sarajevo

 

In 1908 Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had been occupied since 1878. On 28 June 1914 the Austrian crown prince Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo – one of the causes of the outbreak of the First World War. During the siege of Sarajevo by the Bosnian-Serbian army between 1992 and 1995, the National Library was one of the buildings to be destroyed.

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