Rembrandt in Geneva: a hundred etchings that leave a lasting impression


MORE than any other painter, the great Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) captured in his paintings the essence of his sitter’s soul. Yet to some fine art experts he was an even better engraver than painter.

A stunning exhibition entitled Rembrandt in Geneva of some 100 of his etchings at the Domaine de Penthes in Pregny-Chambésy until 23 October offers visitors the chance to decide if they agree with the scholars. Whether or not they do, there’s no doubt that inspired genius pored from Rembrandt’s fingertips.

Rembrandt in Geneva
Tablet ‘tour guides’ give added insight into the artworks on display.

The international ties that bind

The installation at the Domaine de Penthes — also known as the Museum of the Swiss Abroad, which aims to highlight the historical and artistic ties that bind Switzerland to the rest of the world — is the last stop on a European tour that celebrates the presidency of the European Union by the Netherlands.

The etchings are derived from a private Dutch collection and tesify to the artist’s mastery of 17th century etching techniques. Portraits of everyday people and of himself, as well as biblical, historical and street scenes and broad landscapes reveal the master’s skill in capturing movement, light and shadow. It’s as if you are seeing scenes of daily life from over 350 years ago as they are happening. The works are stunning in their detail and personality.

Special tours and workshops

The museum is offering the following special events in English and French:

  • A guided tour and workshop of the exhibition for 6-to-12 year olds (included in the entry price) on the 7 and 14 September at 2pm
  • A descriptive tour of the exhibition on 17 September at 11am
  • A tour translated and adapted into French sign language on 18 Septermber at 11am
  • An ‘easy understanding’ tour of the exhibition on 18 September at 2.30pm
  • Call the museum from Mon-Fri for info and to reserve at: 022.734.90.21

Included in the entry price is a portable tablet that’s much like a ‘personal tour guide’ offering videos, expanded descriptions, and enlarged images of the etchings to offer visitors a more in-depth understanding of each artwork.

Here are a few examples of the etchings displayed:

The Netherlands meets Switzerland

The exhibition also has a special section devoted to the unexpected historical, ideological, religious and political ties that unite the Netherlands’ past with that of the Swiss Confederation.

The Domaine de Penthes sits in a stunning pastoral landscape with a sweeping view over Lac Leman. The park makes for a perfect short walk before or after visiting the exhibition and possibly lunch or coffee at the nearby restaurant with its shady terrace. I can’t think of a more pleasant way to spend a few hours alone, with friends or visitors than at this gem of an exhibition.

Domaine de Penthes restaurant
Fine cuisine is offered indoors in a modern restaurant that opens onto a shady terrace in summer.

Helpful links:

Domaine de Penthes: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am — 5pm, closed Monday
Practical Information for the Domaine de Penthes
Restaurant du Domaine de Penthes

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