7 march 2012

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits the Battle of Borodino Panorama Museum in Moscow


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was one of the first visitors of the panorama, which reopened the day before after restoration work and renovation of its exhibition dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the 1812 Patriotic War.

The prime minister visited the museum along with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. The museum was established in Moscow almost 50 years ago. Its cylinder-shaped building on Kutuzovsky Prospekt was intended to display the panorama of the Battle of Borodino: a huge painting by Frantz Rubo, a member of the St Petersburg Art Academy, created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon's army, which invaded Russia in 1812.

In 2010 and 2011, the museum's collection received 400 new exhibits. Modern technology has made it possible to revive the map of the Battle of Borodino.

Notably, Vladimir Putin was shown a display dedicated to Russian Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov. The display's main attraction is the final portrait of Kutuzov painted in his lifetime. Miraculously, the portrait had survived a fire at the Academician Grabar Restoration Centre in September 2010.

The prime minister spent most of his time looking at the panorama, which measures 115 metres long and 15 metres high. It took Frantz Rubo and his assistants nine months to complete the painting, which features 4,000 characters. Rubo tried to reenact the defence of the Semyonovskaya village by Russian regiments against a French attack.

"The Battle in the Rye," one of the centre-pieces of the panorama, shows an engagement between Russian cuirassiers and cavalrymen from Westphalia and Saxony who served with Napoleon's army. "Cavalrymen from Westphalia and Saxony are mounting an attack on the Semyonovsky Ravine. They are crossing a brook and are entering Russian-held territory," Yelena Serebrova, the museum director, told Putin.

After inspecting the panorama, Putin visited other exhibition halls, which described the tragic burning of Moscow, the retreat of French forces and the Russian Army's foreign campaign, which culminated in the capture of Paris. During the visit, the prime minister asked the guide about certain details and the timeline of the events of 1812.