The Diorama of the River Meuse is getting ready for the big show!
Precisely 80 years ago Alfred Bastien, author of the famous Panorama of the Yser Battle, started working on the Diorama of the Battles on the River Meuse in 1914. It is indeed in 1936 that Bastien began the 8.5 m high and 72 m long painting. It was revealed in May 1937, in a new building on the Namur citadel, but was only to remain accessible to the public for a very short period of time. At the outbreak of the Second World War the painting was taken down in order to safeguard it against possible vandalism by the enemy. It was never to be rehung! In 1952 the city of Namur transferred the work to the Royal Military Museum. The canvas was briefly put on display there, but put in storage in 1954.
In 2014 the city of Namur and the Royal Military Museum decided on a joint venture putting the Diorama in the limelight once again. The painting received a preventive conservation treatment in view of its display in 2018 and the image was entirely digitalized in the framework of a web documentary. Awaiting the big show the canvas is now once again rolled up. A new support will ensure a better conservation.