On Thursday, August 29, the Battle of Borodino panorama-museum, situated in Kutuzovsky Prospekt, one of Moscow's central streets, will mark its 90th birthday.
The patriotic war of 1812 has become one of the most glorious pages in a long and eventful history of Russia, and its most outstanding episode was the main battle of the war -- that between Napoleon Bonaparte's troops and a Russian army led by Field-Marshal Kutuzov on September 7 near the village of Borodino.
The Battle of Borodino panorama remains the only museum in Russia whose exhibits tell a detailed story of the entire 1812 campaign. Its "heart" is a painting 115 metres long and 15 metres high. Situated in a round hall with a central viewing platform, it creates the impression of reality, enhanced by special sound effects and illumination. Further genuineness to the panorama is added by a strip of so-called "artifacts" 13 metres wide, located between the canvas and the platform. Recreated on it are details of the terrain, figures of soldiers, cannons, etc.
As early as the beginning of last century, with Russia preparing to mark the centenary of the Battle of Borodino, it was decided to build a panorama to mark the date. Work on a canvas was entrusted by the government in 1910 to Franz Rubo, the well-known painter of battle-scenes, by that time the author of two panoramas -- "Storming the Village of Akhulgo and "Defence of Sevastopol". The Battle of Borodino, which depicts the most tense moment of the battle (with the French storming the village of Semyonovskoye) marked the peak of his creativity.
Originally, the panorama was housed in a makeshift wooden pavilion on Chistoprudny Boulevard. But in 1918 it was closed.
The panorama received a fresh lease of life in 1962 when a special building was erected for it in Kutuzovsky Prospekt, not far from Poklonny Hill. In the Soviet years the canvas was twice renovated.
Apart from the main exhibits, panorama visitors also view with interest temporary thematic exhibitions, which are regularly formed out of collections stored at the museum.
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