When Was the World’s Largest Painting Made?
The early largest painting made was undoubtedly Panorama of the Mississippi, completed by the American John Banvard in 1846. The painting depicted the great river over its 1,200 miles course, on a strip some 5,000 feet long and 12 feet wide. In area it was nearly as big as a field of an acre and a half—an amazing size. But the painting was destroyed when the barn on Long Island, New York, where it was stored burned down in 1891.
The largest painting next in existence is The Battle of Gettysburg, also known as The Gettysburg Cyclorama, completed in 1883 after two-and-a-half years’ of work. It took Paul Philippoteaus of France and 16 assistants to paint the 410-foot-long picture. It is 70 feet high and weighs nearly five-and-a-half tons. Four versions were painted, two of which are among the last surviving cycloramas in the United States. The first version of the painting originally exhibited in Chicago, was lost for some time.
It was rediscovered in 1965 and purchased by a group of North Carolina investors in 2007 for an undisclosed amount. The painting was kept in a private collection in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Until November 2005, the second painting, originally exhibited in the Cyclorama Building in Boston, was on display at the Gettysburg National Military Park. It was removed for restoration work and the exhibition was reopened September 2008 in the new Gettysburg National Park Museum and Visitor Center.
The third version, exhibited in Philadelphia, is known to have been destroyed. The location of the fourth version, originally exhibited in Brooklyn, is unknown. Size alone, of course, is no guide to quality.
Next known painting may not be the world’s greatest artwork, but David Aberg’s 86,000-square-foot painting is definitely the biggest. The Swedish artist spent 2 years and 100 tons of paint to complete his work, “Mother Earth,” inside an aircraft hangar in Angelholm, southern Sweden. Guinness World Records in London confirmed it was the world’s largest painting done by a lone artist, more than twice as big as the previous record holder.
Aberg’s painting depicts a woman holding a peace sign. “The idea was to do something for peace,” Aberg said. “This is a peace painting that symbolizes the world with the woman as its symbol.”
The previous record, according to Guinness, was a 41,400-square-foot painting by Canadian artist Eric Waugh. “Hero,” was unveiled in 2000 at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. And the latest world’s largest painting by one artist measured 10,800 m² (116,250 ft²) and was created by Ðuka Siroglavic (Croatia) in Bol, Brac, Croatia, between 15 February – 15 July 2007.