Statues - Hither & Thither

Switzerland
Luzern
Luzern (Kanton)

Löwen-Terrasse
(Gletschergarten)

Löwendenkmal

The Lion of Lucerne

Bertel Thorvaldsen
1820-21

Luzern /  Löwendenkmal   Luzern /  Löwendenkmal

Description

Sculpture of a dying Lion.

Annotation

The sculpture commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France. The American writer Mark Twain (1835-1910) praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."

The initiative to create the monument was taken by Karl Pfyffer von Altishofen, an officer of the Guards who had been on leave in Lucerne at that time of the fight. He began collecting money in 1818. The monument was designed by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, and finally hewn in 1820-21 by Lukas Ahorn, in a former sandstone quarry near Lucerne.

Inscriptions and translations (from a page in the website from the Gletschergarten, no longer on the web):

HELVETIORUM FIDEI AC VIRTUTI
The loyalty and bravery of the Swiss

DIE X AUGUSTI II ET III SEPTEMBRIS MDCCXCII
10. August, 2. and 3. September 1792

HAEC SUNT NOMINA EORUM QUI NE SACRAMENTI FIDEM FALLERENT
Honour roll of the soldiers, who, while upholding their oath of allegiance,

FORTISSIME PUGNANTES CECIDERUNT
Fell in the line of duty:

SOLERTI AMICORUM CURA CLADI SUPERFUERUNT
Survived the battle through the care and attention of friends:

DUCES XXVI
26 officers
DUCES XVI
16 officers
Maillardoz, Bachmann, Reding, Erlach, Salis-Zizers,
H. Diesbach, Gottrau, L. Zimmermann, Wild, Castelberg,
Gros, P. Glutz, S. Maillardoz, Ernest, Forestier,
Diesbach, Steinbrugg, Waltner, I. Maillardoz, Müller,
Montmollin, Castella, Orgemont, Caprez, Allemann,
Chollet, Boecking, Richter
H. Salis-Zizers, Dürler, Pfyffer-Altishofen,
E. Zimmermann, Repond, I. Zimmermann,
Deluze, A. Zimmermann, Glutz, Gibelin,
Maillardoz, De Ville, Constant-Rebecque,
Lacorbière, Forestier, Loretan.
MILITES CIRCITER DCCLX
approximately 760 soldiers
MILITES CIRCITER CCCL
approximately 350 soldiers
HUIUS REI GESTAE CIVES AERE COLLATO PERRENNE MONUMENTUM POSUERE
The citizens of Lucerne erected and funded this monument to commemorate this battle
STUDIO C. PFYFFER
Thanks to the efforts of Karl Pfyffer
ARTE A.THORVALDSEN
The design of Albert Thorwaldsen
OPERA L. AHORN
The execution by Lukas Ahorn

The following is inscribed on a wall of the commemorative chapel: "INVICTIS PAX" (peace to the undefeated). - "PER VITAM FORTES, SUB INIQUA MORTE FIDELES" (brave in life, loyal in unjust death).

Carved into the rock face near the Lion Monument is an inscription recalling an older battle in 1567, the retreat at Meaux and the rescue of the French King Charles IX from the Hugenots by Ludwig Pfyffer. "Retreat from Meaux I MDLXVII" / "Without the loyal allegiance of the Swiss Guard / my life and my freedom / were at risk”. / Words of Charles IX."

Luzern - Löwendenkmal

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

Location (N 47°3'30" - E 8°18'39")

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Item Code: chlu001; Photograph: 12 September 2007  / updated: 10 September 2009
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