Lemancolia
Gustave Courbet, Le Château de Chillon (détail), 1874, huile sur toile, 86 x 100 cm, Musée Gustave Courbet, Ornans, dépôt de la Ville d’Ornans
© Musée Gustave Courbet, Ornans, photo Pierre Guénat


Lemancolia

An artistic treatise on Lake Geneva

21 June to 13 October 2013

Famous for inspiring the first identifiable landscape in the history of art (Konrad Witz’s La Pêche miraculeuse, 1444), Lake Geneva – “lac Léman” in
French – has occupied a special and sometimes surprising place in the work of artists over the centuries. At the heart of Europe and on the road to
Italy, the immense lake offers two distinct perspectives to the passing traveller: viewed from the adjoining heights, the combination of water and mountains and the distinct curvature of the topography evoke a kind of “global landscape” depicted by artists such as Turner, Hodler, Kokoschka and
Duchamp. Yet this “mirror on the world” is at thesame time a “mirror on humankind”. Ever since the Renaissance, and especially since the advent of
Romanticism, Lake Geneva has been a physical mirror on the human soul, a vast reservoir of melancholy, influencing everyone from Shelley, Corot,
Courbet and Vallotton to Hergé and Godard. These two aspects – the mirror on the world and the mirror on humankind – make up the twin facets of the
exhibition, which is conceived as an artistic treatise on a unique landscape.