Amidst the confusion of the Battle of the Nations
This Panorama is dedicated to the battle that took place in the area surrounding Leipzig in October 1813. Some 600,000 soldiers from across Europe gathered in front of the gates of the city of 35,000 people to drive Napoleon and the French army from the lands he had attempted to conquer in the Battle of the Nations.
Rather than creating a battle Panorama in the 19th century style, Yadegar Asisi has produced a monumental piece of art that dramatises the events from the perspective of Leipzig and its citizens. The scenery immediately following the end of the battle is depicted across 3,500 square metres. Visitors can observe the activities taking place in the city centre and neighbouring region – where the most intense fighting took place, and homesteads and villages are still burning – as if they were standing on the roof of the St. Thomas Church. The 1813 architecture displays the relatively intact city of Leipzig – that nonetheless had to cope with countless dead, wounded and stranded soldiers and civilians from the destroyed surrounding environs. The area is dominated by throngs of people and chaos, from the advancing victors and retreating French army to the many injured in open hospitals.
The Panorama deals with the question of how it was possible that the largest battle in history at the time could suddenly take place in front of the gates of the university town, trade fair centre and commercial hub, leading to decades of destitution and misery in the pulsing city. It is a tragedy representative of countless war disasters before and since.