Heinrich C. Berann's Stunning Map Artwork

Heinrich C. Berann's Stunning Map Artwork

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The father of the modern panorama map

Heinrich Berann (1915-1999) is the father of the modern panorama map. Berann was known for his unorthodox habits of landscape manipulation, such as rotating mountains, widening valleys, and vertically exaggerating features. Berann painted four panoramas for the U.S. National Park Service that demonstrated his genius for landscape visualization: North Cascades National Park (1987), Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and finally Mt. McKinley National Park (1994). Some of his map artwork is now in the public domain and can be found via the links at the bottom of this page.

Some examples of Berann's "National Park caricatures"

I made posters of the four National Park paintings Berann made for the U.S. National Park Service. These peices are some of my favorites of Berann's stunning map masterpieces:

Heinrich Berann illustration - Yellowstone
Yellowstone NP

Heinrich Berann illustration - Yosemite
Yosemite NP

Heinrich Berann illustration - North Cascades
North Cascades NP

Heinrich Berann illustration - Denali NP
Denali NP

And I made a labeled poster of the North Cascades using Berann's illustration.

Labelled illustration of North Cascade National Park
Labeled North Cascades

Labelled illustration of the Picket Range
Labeled Picket Range

A short introduction to his life

(The following biography was written by Matthias Troyer, a grandson of H.C. Berann. It can be found on the website The World of H.C. Berann, a really nice site which Matthias has created that details the life and works of his grandfather.)

Prof. H.C. Berann, the father of the modern panorama map, is renowned throughout the world for his combining old European painting tradition with modern cartography to produce his unique panorama maps.

He was born into a family of established painters and sculptors on March 31st, 1915 in Innsbruck, Tyrol. Nevertheless his artistic efforts were initially not supported by his father and he taught himself by trial and error. In the years 1930-1933 he attended the arts and design school "Bundeslehranstalt für Malerei" in Innsbruck.

The great recession of the thirties did not allow him to make a living as a painter and he had to work as an independent artist and designer. His future career was decided by his winning the first prize at a competition for a panorama map of the newly opened "Großglockner Hochalpenstraße" mountain pass road in Austria in 1934. Using his artistic heritage and new self-discovered techniques he invented a new way of painting landscapes for touristic purposes. In the following years he improved this technique, created the modern panorama map and became famous all over the world for his maps that are in a class of their own.

The further development of both these panorama maps and his artistic style was influenced by lasting impressions he received during his military service in Norway and Northern Finland in 1942. The most prominent example are his trademark cloud formations. Another deep influence was the marriage to Ludmilla Herold in 1941 and the birth of his daughters Elisabeth and Angela.

In 1944 he had the opportunity for anatomical studies with Dr. Wirtingen in Vienna and to learn from the sculptor Prof. Gustinus Ambrosi. After the war he could also devlop his artistic side as a painter thanks to the generous support of Prof. Paul Schwarzkopf.

All his life has been split between his passion, the art, and his profession as a cartographer, as is symbolized by his sign, the balance. Since 1952 he lived in his house in the mountain village of Lans near Innsbruck, Austria. There he died at the age of 84 years on December 4th, 1999.

External Links

The World of H.C.Berann


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-7 of 7
Stu Brandel

Stu Brandel - Nov 20, 2009 2:29 pm - Voted 10/10

Also RMNP?

I used a map for Rocky Mountain National Park this summer (for general orientation) that looks similar - same artist?


StephAbegg - Nov 20, 2009 2:40 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Also RMNP?

I don't think Berann did a map of RMNP, but if you proove me wrong let me know!
(I think he just did the 4 maps for the US NP service: Denali, Yellowstone, Yosemite, North Cascades).

Arthur Digbee

Arthur Digbee - Nov 20, 2009 3:08 pm - Voted 10/10

Very interesting

but pretty short -- you whetted my appetite to know more. Can you give us a little background on Berann and how he came to do this? More context and history?


HungarySagehen - Nov 22, 2009 3:27 am - Hasn't voted


this is awesome, thanks a lot StephAbegg


suddendescent - Nov 24, 2009 2:24 pm - Voted 10/10

I swear there is something like that around home !

No joke , I uncovered something like that somewhere in Quebec !

Unfortunately no ground level images exist to prove it !

Thank god the original idea has been implemented for use with such tools as Google earth !

Now anyone can go exploring using satellite imagery ! Anyone ever encounter something strange in some "unexplored" corner of the globe ?... I once uncovered a gigantic deposit of minerals in the forbidding mountains in south western Cyprus !..LOL !

Mathias Zehring

Mathias Zehring - Nov 27, 2009 2:15 am - Voted 10/10

worldwide work

thank you for this fine artice. The Berann panoramas are well-known throughout the alps and since many years a 2m-wide Alps panorama decorates our alpine club group's room. But I did not imagine that Berann was working worldwide!

mauri pelto

mauri pelto - Nov 28, 2009 7:34 am - Voted 10/10


I can stare at his pictorial maps for hours. My sister brought one home from Austria of Grossglockner when I was 11, I still have it. I did realize it was a Berann even though I have a couple of his national park images. I remember talking to Dee Molenaar about Berann in the 1980's, as Molenaar did some similar work on Mount Rainier-Juneau icefield, Mount St. Helens, and he looked to the style of Berann.

Viewing: 1-7 of 7