Edouard Castres’ circular painting of 1881 depicts a memorable event of the Franco-Prussian War (1870/71): ‘s Eastern Army, under the command of General , crosses the Swiss border and gives up its arms in February, 1871
The painting by Edouard Castres
- The original dimensions of the painting correspond to the panorama standard of the time: 14 to 15 metres in height, with a circumference of 114 metres. In 1926, two metres were removed from the top of the canvas when a garage was installed in the building, and another two metres when the garage was expanded in 1949 a total of over four metres – so that the height of the present-day panorama is not quite ten metres.
The new faux-terrain
- As of the 1830’s, panorama paintings were often extended by means of a so-called faux-terrain, a three-dimensional foreground serving to create the illusionistic effect. The faux-terrain in the Panorama was completely rebuilt, enlarged, and given a more contemporary style in 1999/2000. Moreover, 21 impressive figures have been added to the scene, bearing witness to the sufferings borne by ‘s soldiers and the refugees in the winter of 1870/71. The thunder of a distant cannon, the whinnying of horses and other sound effects create the acoustic backdrop for the viewers’ greater interest. Pastor Clerc shares his childhood memories of the internment of the Army by means of an audio presentation.