A Stylistic Study of the Hand-Painted Winter Panorama Maps of Pierre Novat

Nolan Mestres
Cartographic Perspectives, January 2022

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I present a study of the hand-painted winter panoramas of Atelier Novat, a workshop founded by Pierre Novat (1928–2007) in the 1960s, whose style was perpetuated by his children Arthur and Frédérique. I offer a portrait of Pierre Novat and a brief historical overview of the workshop. The contribution of the paper is to describe the style of Novat through the analysis of its constituent elements: creation process, color palette, terrain deformation, light effects, and surface texture (trees, rocks, roads, and buildings). Creating an ideal yet personal representation of a mountain has a dual purpose: a practical one, to help the viewer understand the topography of the region, and an aesthetic one, to depict an imaginary mountain, now iconic of the French Alps, that encourages dreams. The paper concludes with a review of existing methods, in cartography and computer graphics, for the creation of digital panoramas.