Luzern Löwendenkmal

Accession Number

Luzern Löwendenkmal

Giorgio Sommer

Artist Nationality
Italian (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
albumen print on paper

7 3/4 in x 9 3/4 in (19.68 cm x 24.77 cm);20 in x 16 in (50.8 cm x 40.64 cm);7 13/16 in x 9 7/8 in (19.84 cm x 25.08 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. & Mrs. W. Howard Bond

Subject matter
Filling this photograph’s frame is a rock wall with a carved sculpture at its center. The sculpture depicts a slain lion lying in a shadowed grotto. Impaled by a broken spear, the lion's head and paws are draped over a shield bearing the fleur-de-lis—the symbol of the French monarchy. To the left of the lion is a shield with the Swiss coat of arms on it. This work is a memorial for the Swiss Guards killed during the French Revolution. Overwhelmed by superior numbers, over seven hundred of these soldiers were killed in the fighting or massacred after their surrender. Carved in the rock face below the lion are lines commemorating these fallen soldiers and lists the names of the officers who died. Above the lion’s grotto are the latin words, “Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti,” meaning “To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss.”  Situated in a former sandstone-quarry, the shadowy tones of the roughly hewn rock face underscore the melancholy nature of the monument.

Physical Description
This photograph depicts a sculpture of a slain lion lying in a grotto, carved into a wall of rock.  Above and below the lion is latin text.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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Panthera leo (species)
Swiss guards
Text-based Art
memorials (monuments)
modern and contemporary art
quarries (extracting complexes)
rock (inorganic material)
sculpture (visual works)
soldiers' monuments
stone (worked rock)
travel photography

3 Related Resources

Italy in 19th-Century Photography
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Objects from Aftermath: Landscapes of Devastation
(Part of: <b>Aftermath: Landscapes of Devastation</b>)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted