History and Mentality

Soldiers dying by the wayside, civilian refugees with their entire possessions and an army that gives up its weapons at the Swiss border: the Bourbaki-Panorama is simultaneously witness to the history of the media and of war in the 19th century.

The German-French war of 1870-1871 was the subject of intense public scrutiny and emotions at the time. Newspapers published reports about it, painters depicted the events in images. In the winter of 1871 General Bourbaki's Eastern French Army crossed the border into Switzerland. The Bourbaki-Panorama in Lucerne is a humanistic portrayal of this event and a critique of war.

The 112 meter by 10 meter large painting is one of the last giant panoramic paintings of the 19th century that have been preserved. It is a European cultural monument. The painter of the Panorama, Edouard Castres, experienced the war as a Red Cross volunteer. A museum (very close to the Glacier Garden) conveys knowledge about the war, the fate of the Bourbaki army and about the panoramic painting.

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