Special Presentation by Natasja Peeters, Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, Brussels

To Trick the Eye : the History and Rediscovery of the Panorama of the Battle of Yser

The Panorama of the battle of the Yser, representing one of the most important battles of the First World War, was painted in 1920-21 by the Belgian artist Alfred Bastien (1873-1955), and his collaborators. At 120 x 15 m, this monumental canvas is one of the largest Belgian paintings, and one of the very last to be created.

In the beginning of the 1950s, the Panorama joined the collections of the Brussels Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History. Exhibited in the museum’s Great Hall until 1982, the giant canvas was taken down, rolled up and stored for some 25 years.

This paper presents the progress made by the Brussels panorama-team in the research, conservation, and valorisation of the Panorama, and explores its role in the commemorations of the First World War in the Brussels Royal Military Museum from 2014 onwards. Due to conservation/restoration issues, the Museum is looking into the possibilities for a virtual reconstruction of the Panorama of the battle of the Yser.

In order to do this, in 2010/11 the museum collaborated with a specialised firm. This  paper elaborates on the promising results of this first trial, and aims to explain some of the complex digital techniques that were used to arrive at the results of this test case. Recently, a short documentary film of the 1920s was discovered, showing the artist and his Panorama. The aim of the Brussels Royal Military Museum is to create an immersion space that allows the public to experience a sensorial discovery of the First World War, as fought at the Yser-river in 1914.

References

Peeters, Natasja and Smets, Sandrine, ‘La guerre vue à 360°: le Panorama de la Bataille de l’Yser d’Alfred Bastien au Musée royal de l’Armée et d’Histoire militaire à Bruxelles’, In : Rochet, Bénédicte and Tixhon, Axel, La petite Belgique dans la Grande Guerre. Une icône, des images, Namur 2012, p. 179-200.

Peeters, Natasja (ed.), Panorama Redevelopment: Restoration and Repositioning, with focus on the Panorama of the Battle of Yser (1920-21), by Alfred Bastien (18th IPC International Panorama Conference), Brussels (to be published 2013).

Peeters, Natasja ‘J.R. Leconte’s paper trail of the Panorama of the battle of the Yser (1949-1951)’, In: Peeters, Natasja (ed.), Panorama Redevelopment: Restoration and Repositioning, with focus on the Panorama of the Battle of Yser (1920-21), by Alfred Bastien (18th IPC International Panorama Conference), Brussels (to be published 2013

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.