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- 10 -102014

Les Invalides during the Great War, twenty-fourth episode : a theatre in the Invalides

In July 1916, close to the Invalides dome, along the nave of the church of Saint-Louis des Invalides, the painter Georges Scott and his colleagues, set up a mobile theatre before sending it to the armed forces’ zone.

On the theatre’s pediment «Theatre of the Front» appears in gilt lettering and, represented in grisaille, on the left side, the head of a poilu smoking his pipe, on the right side, the head of a German soldier wearing a spiked helmet, glasses and a big moustache.
Below this cartridge, the Croix de Guerre, painted in trompe-l’œil.
On the top, on the sunrays, a white rooster, the symbol of the French people, seems to be crowing.
At each end of the pediment, trophies made of grenades, bugles and Adrian helmets are painted and surround the inscription «Honneur» (Honour) and «Patrie» (Homeland).
On the pilasters supporting the pediment, also in trompe-l’œil, is the star of the Legion of Honour and the Military Medal.
Below these decorations, on the right, is a French soldier ready to throw a grenade and, on the left, a grenadier from the Ancien Régime. On the theatre’s base, on the left is inscribed, «théâtre offert par…» (theatre offered by). Then, 1914 is painted in a medallion on the left, 1915 in the centre and 1916 on the right. The theatre’s curtain rises on an indoor scene. A soldier wearing an Adrian helmet, pictured on the left gives the scale. He seems to be enjoying the show.
The mobile theatre on this postcard is not Scott’s theatre, but it shows the soldiers’ eagerness to watch the show so that they can forget the war during their few minutes of rest..

Carte postale, la légende montre qu’elle est destinée à être diffusée en Espagne : El teatro en el frente francès (Le théâtre sur le front français). © Paris, musée de l’Armée

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