Niagara Gazette

June 7, 2012

Castellani opens War of 1812 Bicentennial exhibition

Special to the Gazette
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University will open a new exhibition presented in conjunction with the War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The event features a talk by guest curator Robert Giannetti as well as an information fair for Niagara 1812 Legacy Council partner organizations to promote their own events and programs.

The Picturesque and War: Visual and Literary Aspects of 19th Century Tourism explores the role of books and related visual arts in the marketing of the Niagara region as a premiere tourist destination before and after the War of 1812. 

The exhibit first shows how ideas of the picturesque and sublime developed beginning in the 18th century. These concepts were later used to market Niagara Falls as a natural wonder of unspoiled beauty and awe-inspiring power. 

Richly illustrated fine books, travel guides, maps and skillfully rendered prints (many based on paintings by the 19th century’s best-known artists) all helped to attract visitors to the Niagara region. Following the War of 1812, former battlefields and war monuments were added to the list of the region’s tourist attractions. On the lighter side, humorous satiric texts and illustrations show the battle between the sublime and ridiculous as the Falls were exploited by industry and rampant commercialization.

This exhibition and related events are free of charge and will take place at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University. The exhibition is made possible, in part, through a grant from the Niagara 1812 Legacy Council.