chapter  4
33 Pages

The course of the empire: sublime landscapes in the american cinema: Maurizia Natali

During the nineteenth century, landscape paintings, photographs or prints, large panoramas or small postcards played a large ideological and “nation-building” role within American visual culture. They illustrated religious utopias and political projects concerning the expanding frontier and the wars against Natives, stimulated the birth of “landscape taste” in modern urban spectators, and translated in myriad images long-lasting slogans such as “the American destiny,” “the American dream,” or “the American way of life.” At the same time, the panorama buildings, avatars of cinema, presented huge scenic views as collective and immersive entertainment, transforming icons of imperialist expansion, the “magisterial gaze,” and panopticism into popular visual attractions.