Geneva exhibits its Calvin-inspired Classical heritage

An ancient Greek exhibit on show in Geneva. Jean-Claude Brutsch

Ancient Greek treasures will be adorning Geneva's Art and History Museum for the next six months as an exhibition explores the importance of classical art and literature during the Reformation period.

This content was published on September 27, 2000 minutes

It is a little-known fact that, as well as being the hub of the Protestant world, 16th century Geneva also helped to rehabilitate the language of ancient Greece and became an important centre for Hellenism.

While it was an ostensibly austere, puritanical time, leading figures like John Calvin encouraged people to study the language and literature of ancient Greece, not least because the New Testament had been written in Greek.

The exhibition, Homer Chez Calvin, presents very rare examples of typographical masterpieces by Geneva's master printers, who also produced some of the best-known bibles of the period.

There are also antique works of art depicting some of the most famous episodes in Ancient History: the Trojan War, the Judgement of Paris and the Odyssey.

The exhibition, which runs until March 4 next year is dedicated to Professor Olivier Reverdin, president of the Association Hellas et Roma, who died in June.

by Roy Probert

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