The International Monument to the Reformation (French: Monument international de la Réformation, German: Internationales Reformationsdenkmal), usually known as the Reformation Wall, is a monument in Geneva, Switzerland. It honours many of the main individuals, events, and documents of the Protestant Reformation by depicting them in statues and bas-reliefs.
The Wall is in the grounds of the University of Geneva, which was founded by John Calvin, and was built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Calvin's birth and the 350th anniversary of the university's establishment. It is built into the old city walls of Geneva, and the monument's location there is designed to represent the fortifications', and therefore the city of Geneva's, integral importance to the Reformation.
Inaugurated in 1909, it was the culmination of a contest launched to transform that part of the park. The contest, which involved 71 other proposals, received entries from across the world. The winning design was put forward by four Swiss architects: Charles Dubois, Alphonse Laverrière, Eugène Monod, and Jean Taillens (whose other design came third). The sculptures were then created by two French sculptors: Paul Landowski and Henri Bouchard.
During the Reformation, Geneva was the centre of Calvinism, and its history and heritage since the sixteenth century has been closely linked to that of Protestantism. Due to the close connections to that theology, the individuals most prominently depicted on the Wall were Calvinists; nonetheless, key figures in other theologies are also included.
At the centre of the monument, four 5 m-tall statues of Calvinism's main proponents are depicted:
To the left (facing the Wall, ordered from left to right) of the central statues are 3 m-tall statues of:
- William the Silent (1533 – 1584)
- Gaspard de Coligny (1519–1572)
- Frederick William of Brandenburg (1620 – 1688)
To the right (ordered from left to right) are 3 m-tall statues of:
Along the wall, to either side of the central statues, is engraved the motto of both the Reformation and Geneva: Post Tenebras Lux (Latin for After darkness, light). On the central statues' pedestal is engraved a Christogram: ΙΗΣ.
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- It is sometimes translated into other forms, including 'Wall of the Reformation' and 'Wall of the Reformers'.
- (French) Frey, Pierre A. "Alphonse Laverrière, l’entrée en lice d’un protagoniste" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-08-12.[dead link]
- Chancellerie de l'Etat de Genève: Le parc des Bastions. URL last accessed 2008-04-28.
- McWilliam, Neil: "Monuments, martyrdom, and the politics of religion in the French third republic", The Art Bulletin, June 1, 1995. URL last accessed 2008-04-28.