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The Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta

William Wehner
1886
Oil paint

“Cyclorama” is the largest painting in the United States at 42 feet tall and 358 feet in circumference. It depicts the Battle of Atlanta, fought in 1864 during the Civil War. Housed in Atlanta’s Grant Park, it is one of only two cycloramas in the United States. William Wehner led the creation of the Cyclorama. He was from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and ran the American Panorama Company, which was dedicated to cycloramic art. Wehner’s artist team came to Atlanta in the summer of 1885 to do field studies on the battle. The artists received much advice from Union and Confederate veterans and former wartime reporters in the area. From a forty-foot tower they sketched layouts. After several months onsite, they returned to Milwaukee to complete the painting.

The painting was held privately by various owners until 1898 when it was who donated to the city and provided with permanent housing in Grant Park. Deterioration of the painting and water damage led to an $11 million restoration of the Cyclorama in the late 1970s. The building was remodeled and equipped with a 184-seat, tiered viewing platform, which rotates slowly as recorded narrative describes the painting. The upstairs museum was also updated, with artifacts given mostly by a former Cyclorama employee. The Cyclorama continues to draw visitors from around the world.

Grant Park Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum
800 Cherokee Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30315