Monday, December 01, 2008

The Dying Lion at Lucerne

A Hero's death

One of the memorials that impacted me deeply was the monument of the Dying Lion at Lucerne, Switzerland. The sculpture of a wounded lion is carved onto a granite cliff.

The expression of the lion is a work of genius! Who can believe that such emotion can be crafted onto emotionless stone. Somehow the sculptor has managed to capture the last few moments before the lion's death in one motionless piece.

The wounded lion lies vanquished in its last few moments of existence, yet one gets the feeling that it was a brave death. Even in this position, the lion's mane gives it an authority and there is a nobility in the face. Is this the elusive hero's death that the epics talk about?



I spent a few quite moments there, bought a souvenir of this monument and continued my journey. I just knew this to be a monument for Swiss soldiers who died in some battle. I did not bother to find out about the battle.

Today, I stumbled across this link which tells the story of the monument. Apparently, this was a monument built in honour of Swiss Mercenaries who died while defending the French Royalty in the French Revolution!

I was a bit surprised. The monument which affected me so powerfully was intended to honour people who were protecting the "bad guys" of the French Revolution. However, this still does not diminish the artistic brilliance of the monument. I will ignore the meaning and just take the beauty out of this. More importantly, whatever may have been the intention, it is still a fitting tribute to bravery, valour and nobility.


The Swiss Mercenary Tradition

I was intrigued by the phrase "mercenary tradition". Here is an interesting article on the same.

"For more than 500 years, young Swiss men went out into the world in a controlled military environment at an age when they are quite naturally a little wild," said Anselm Zurfluh, director of Geneva's Museum of Swiss in the World.

"They usually returned calmed down and wanting to work, settle down and have families. I firmly believe this is one reason Switzerland is so peaceful."





Ramkumar R. Aiyengar said...

Ah.. Atlast a place I have been to :D Lovely city.. :D

Abhinav said...

ya it really looks great

Ajit said...

Yeah. The best part about traveling in Switzerland is, you can go to any railway station or tourism counter, ask them for a map, and cover the whole city by foot yourself!

Desba said...

Just a thought... what was the size of the sculpture? Coz the photo doesnt give any indication of it..

Was the massive sculpture bringing the orey-feelings-and-reflections in you?

Czar said...

Killer work on the granite.

I mean! phew!


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