A colossal panoramic painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta from the US Civil War will be lifted by cranes from the building where it's been housed for nearly a century and then trucked to its new location. Moving the 6-ton Cyclorama, one of the nation's largest paintings, from Grant Park to the Atlanta History Center across town marks a major milestone in its restoration, historians say. The move—which architects and engineers have coordinated with German, Swiss, and US conservators—is expected to begin Thursday and take two days, the AP reports. The painting's vivid scenes of charging soldiers, rearing horses, and broken bodies stretches the length of a football field when it's fully unfurled. But to prep for its big move, it's been cut at a seam into two pieces. Both pieces are already rolled onto gigantic, custom-built steel spools, each of them taller than a four-story building.
Holes have been cut in the concrete roof of the Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum in Grant Park. Cranes will be used to lift the spools through the roof and onto waiting trucks for the trip to a building under construction at the history center, says Howard Pousner, a center spokesman. Those in charge say they're using extreme caution to ensure the 15,000-square-foot painting isn't damaged. "If there's anything that endangers the painting, we will slow down to a crawl," Pousner notes. The artwork, created by the American Panorama Co. in the 1880s, is one of only two such panoramas on display in the US. The other one is at Pennsylvania's Gettysburg National Military Park. Before the golden age of movies, the panoramas that offered a 360-degree view of battles and other historic events served as what's been described "as the 3D IMAX movies of their time," per the history center. (Read more painting stories.)