Interesting Places I've Photographed
The Lion of Lucerne Monument
Topic: Lion Statues
GPS: N47° 03.493; E008° 18.636
The Lion of Lucerne is a large relief sculpture of a sleeping lion carved into the side of a small cliff in Lucerne, Zentralschweiz, Switzerland
The Lion Monument (Löwendenkmal) is often called the Lion of Lucerne. It is a relief sculpture that was designed by the Danish sculpture Bertel Thorvaldsen and carved by Lukas Ahorn between 1820 and 1821.
On August 10, 1792, members of the Swiss Guard were killed when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris during the French Revolution. At that time, the Swiss Guard was hired to protect the French royalty. About 760 members of the Swiss Guard were killed during the fighting or massacred after surrender. The majority of the Swiss Guard who survived were away at Normandy at the time. A mournful sculpture of a mortally wounded lion commemorates their dedication and loss.
The sculpture is carved in what was once a sandstone quarry. Above the lion is the dedicatation: "Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti" - ("To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss"). The dying lion is impaled by a spear. He is leaning on a shield bearing the fleur-de-lis of the French monarchy and in front of him is a second shield with the Swiss the coat of arms. The inscription below the sculpture lists the names of the officers, and approximate numbers of the soldiers who died (DCCLX = 760), and survived (CCCL = 350).