20-Sep-2007: Panorama Mesdag, Den Haag, The Netherlands / Digital Panoramic photographs - AutoStitch.

In the previous post we saw the landscape of Scheveningen beach in Den Haag. Here we will see some photos of the panoramic drawing of Scheveningen beach by Hendrik Willem Mesdag dating 1881. More information you can find in the museum site: "Panorama Mesdag".

The following text is from the website of the museum:

"Panorama Mesdag is a cylindrical painting, more than 14 meters high and 120 meters in circumference. The vista of the sea, the dunes and Scheveningen village was painted by one of the most famous painters of the Hague School, Hendrik Willem Mesdag. It is the oldest 19th century panorama in the world in its original site, and a unique cultural heritage.
Mesdag Panorama is the most beautiful sensation of my life. It has just one tiny flaw and that is its flawlessness.
- Vincent van Gogh, painter, 1881
In this panoramic drawing we can see the architecture in 1881 and we can compare it with the nowadays architecture that we saw in our previous post.
Interesting is also the formalistic image of the roof (of the museum) that we see in these two photograph (above and below).If we see the painting from the lower level we observe that everything in the drawing is distorted. The painter did that because he had to take in account the panoramic installation of the painting.
Here we can see clearly that everything is distorted, and how difficult was technically the drawing of panoramas in 1881.
Very interesting I find also the installation of the following sensor/robot ;-). It continuously checks the distances between the walls of the building, because next to the museum there are some works/constructions that may-be can cause damages to the stability of the building.
You can buy the panorama on an umbrella in the shop of the museum ;-).Very interesting notes about panoramic paintings and panoramic photography today you can find in the site of the museum: http://www.panorama-mesdag.nl/ Go to Introduction -> Educational (or to the link).

This painting you can see it as an installation. Inside the room you can hear also recorded sounds of birds and waves of the sea.

Panoramas were very famous in end of 19 and beginning of 20 century. There were exposed in special buildings like the one that we see in the following image:
The image and the following text is from the website of the museum (from the link):

"During the second half of the nineteenth century these large panoramic scenes were a big success. Special cylindrical buildings were made for these panoramas, measuring up to 100 meters in circumference and more than 15 meters high.

With the arrival of cinema and (later) television, the popularity of panoramas started to decline. Moving images were seen as more attractive than even the most impressing panoramas."
Update 30-Sep-2007: Here is an example of using software AutoStitch for developing panoramic photographs from a collection of photos (all shot from the same position but with different angles). The software and the technology of AutoStitch has been developed by Phd student Matthew Brown.

In this example we have 57 photographs from the landscape from all the possible angles:
First step of processing by AutoStitch "25 of 57 images aligned":Second step of processing by AutoStich "all 57 images aligned":
The amazing result of AutoStitch algorithm is the panoramic photograph:
Click on the photograph to see how amazing result gives the algorithm (the 57 input images has been aligned/combined perfectly).

A difficult research field in computer science (in the branch of Digital Signal Processing) is the "Computer Vision" (the research behind Autostitch software is within the field of computer vision.

More examples of panoramic photographs made by software AutoStitch you can find in flickr with tag autostitch.

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