18.2 C
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Exhibition at the International Museum of the Reformation

REPRINT - Unusual figures from the 18th century

Calvinistic Holland was the laboratory of tolerance in the 18th century. People fled there to escape religious repression, particularly that exercised in France by Louis XIV at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. 40,000 French emigrated to the Netherlands, which was also home to a very large Jewish community.
From 1723 to 1737, Protestant publisher Jean-Frédéric Bernard and Jansenist engraver
engraver Bernard Picart published an unprecedented survey of all the religions
religions known at the time. Convinced that rites were designed by priests to keep believers
Bernard and Picart's seven-volume Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du Monde (Religious ceremonies and customs of all the peoples of the world), containing over 3,400 pages and 260 engravings, inaugurated the first religious comparatism in history, highlighting the superstitious aberrations at work in all belief systems. Thirty years before Rousseau, these genius precursors anticipated the Enlightenment and the Geneva thinker's conceptions of natural religion.

As the proud owner of an edition of this extraordinary library, the Musée
of this extraordinary library, the Musée International de la Réforme now presents a selection of its unusual
engravings and offers to print reproductions by hand on its Gutenberg-inspired
on its Gutenberg-inspired press.
REPRINT - Figures insolites du 18ème thus puts the famous "Mechanics of Protestantism" back at the heart of the action. Built in 2017 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Gutenberg press was used to print, with the help of 15,000 visitors, an 800-page anniversary Bible, the only copy of which is also presented alongside elements recalling some of the artistic, technical and literary stages of this unique publishing experience.

"Most men would be unaware that there is a God, were it not for the fact that the worship we must render him were not accompanied by some outward signs. The less we know the less the Supreme Being has been known, the more bizarre and extravagant these marks have been."

This first sentence from the opening text of the first volume of Bernard and Picart's masterpiece
Bernard and Picart's masterpiece is placed in a large exergue on one of the walls of the exhibition.
It sums up the general philosophy behind the editorial program of the two Huguenot refugees in Holland: the Supreme Being is ill-served by the proliferation of religions and rites, which
screens His truth. The publisher's and engraver's catalog is a survey of these numerous
designed to convince through argument rather than derision.
All the systems presented in the seven volumes depict religions with respect,
even when their strangeness distances the believer from the truth. They describe or
rites of birth, marriage and death are described or depicted on all five continents, human figures are presented with sobriety, and the contexts are not overly exotic, despite their immense potential.

International Museum of the Reformation (MIR)
4, rue du Cloître
1204 Geneva
T. : +41 22 310 24 31

Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Special openings: Ascension Thursday, Whit Monday, August 1 (except Mondays), Jeûne Genevois Thursday and Jeûne Fédéral Monday.