Jerusalem, die Burg/der Palast Antonia, residenz des Präfekts Pontius Pilatus (links), der Herodianische Tempel (rechts), die Halle Salomos, das Goldene Tor und die Stadtmauer. Foto/Photo: TES

The Crucifixion Panorama in Einsiedeln

The last third of the 19th century witnessed a great interest worldwide in panoramas. A panorama is a gigantic circular painting up to 15 metres in height and 120 metres in circumference.

At the end of the 19th century, many big cities had rotunda exhibiting panoramas. In this period, the idea came up of representing the historical event of the Crucifixion of Christ in a panorama.

The landscape

Karl Hubert Frosch (1846-1931), Joseph Krieger (1848-1914), and William Robinson Leigh (1865-1955) painted the panorama of Einsiedeln in 1892. On 1 July 1893, the panorama of the Crucifixion of Christ was opened to the public in Einsiedeln in a twelve-sided dome, 33 metres in diameter, built for the purpose. It would very soon become a well-visited site of the pilgrimage centre.

A fire destroyed this panorama in 1960, but its second life began immediately. A new panorama fireproof building was erected, and for the re-creation of the painting, an artistic competition was held, which was won by the Viennese artists, Prof. Hans Wulz (1909-1985) and Prof. Josef Fastl (1929-2008). The idea was to paint something other than an exact copy or a reproduction of the former picture. The new concept would be executed in a modern style, reflecting a contemporary artistic interpretation of the subject.

The crucifixion on the Golgatha

The burial site of Christ

The new panorama was painted in 1961/62, within six months, following the former picture in size and all details of the composition, but in a free painting style which differs from the detailed realistic style of the earlier one. On 14 April 1962, the panorama was re-opened to the public.

Over the last hundred years, nearly five million pilgrims and tourists have visited it. Three panoramas (out of many) of the Crucifixion of Christ have survived worldwide, all in pilgrimage centres: in Ste. Anne de Beaupré, situated near Québec, Canada; Altötting, Upper Bavaria, Germany; and Einsiedeln, Switzerland.

(Source and further information: Panorama Einsiedeln)

The palace of Herodus and the three towers Mariamne, Phasael en Hippikus