Thursday, 18 August 2011
Bergisel 1809 - the Panorama
I'm presently on holiday in Austria, and yesterday I made a solo self-indulgence trip to Innsbruck, to visit my new chum Andreas Hofer. I've been to Innsbruck years ago, and, as before, I found it to be a hard-working, mostly modern-looking city, not especially inspiring depite its setting amid the Alps and its history.
What I did not see on my previous visit was the recently-restored panoramic painting of the Battle of Bergisel, which is absolutely wonderful. Presented very cleverly, the enormous painting is done in a trompe-d'oeuil style which is very 3-dimensional anyway, but the lighting effects and the use of solid objects and landscaping in the foreground set it off brilliantly and make it very difficult in places to distinguish which bits are just painted on the walls. The Tirolean forces under Hofer (who is depicted looking for all the world like General Longstreet in the Gettysburg movie) are seen, in remarkable detail, defeating the Bavarians in May 1809. I must check out my Nafziger OOBs when I get home - I would have expected to see at least some of Archduke John's white-uniformed Austrian regulars there.
My snapshots (no flash, please) cannot hope to do any justice at all to the wondrous subject matter, but I hope they reinforce my recommendation that the place is well worth a visit. The neighbouring Kaiserjaegers' Museum is also a fascinating place, and featured a remarkable film about the restoration of the panorama.
Late edit added: Hofer is in my 5th picture (the one with the white building in the left middle - he is in large hat and beard, just to the right of two guys in pale clothing. Far better than my photos, there's a pretty good view of the Panorama available on YouTube, complete with stirring music - you'll find it here.
Anyone interested in a 1/72 Tyrolean army for 1809 should check out the only known figures here.