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Toute l'offre culturelle

  • L'herbier des Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques et ses quelque six millions d’échantillons est un des plus importants au monde. Quant au jardin, il abrite de magnifiques collections de plantes vivantes.
  • Site internet du Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques

  • Le FMAC a pour missions de développer la présence de l’art dans l’espace public et de soutenir les artistes actifs et actives à Genève. Le FMAC gère la Médiathèque, un espace de consultation et de diffusion d’une collection dédiée à l'art vidéo. Le FMAC Mobile, par ses actions de médiation, favorise l’intérêt et la compréhension des publics pour le domaine de l’art contemporain.
  • Page web du Fonds municipal d’art contemporain

  • Avec une collection riche de 25'000 objets illustrant douze siècles de culture céramique, le Musée Ariana compte parmi les grands musées européens spécialisés dans les arts du feu.
  • Site internet du Musée Ariana

  • Les Musées d’art et d’histoire forment le plus grand ensemble muséal de Suisse, avec ses cinq musées et leurs 700'000 objets, sa bibliothèque et ses ateliers de restauration.
  • Site internet des Musées d'art et d'histoire

  • Haut lieu de la réflexion sur les sociétés humaines, le Musée d'ethnographie de Genève, dont les bâtiments se trouvent au boulevard Carl-Vogt propose au travers de ses expositions une variété de lectures anthropologiques des phénomènes sociaux et culturels qui traversent le monde actuel.
  • Site internet du Musée d'ethnographie

  • Le Muséum d’histoire naturelle accueille plus de 250'000 visiteurs chaque année à la découverte des millions de spécimens exceptionnels appartenant au patrimoine naturel qu'il conserve. Unique en son genre en Suisse, le Musée d'histoire des sciences - affilié au Muséum - abrite une collection d'instruments scientifiques anciens issus des cabinets des savants genevois du 17e au 19e siècle.
  • Site internet du Muséum d'histoire naturelle
    Site internet du Musée d'histoire des sciences

The revelations

The revelations

What's in the safe?

Gustave Revilliod, approaching his life’s twilight, fears death more and more. Also, the famous collector has lost his whole family: his 3-week-old brother, his two other brothers the same year, his father, and finally, his mother whom he loved above all (he gave her name to the museum).

Moreover, never married, having no children, Gustave Revilliod has no descendants. Surrounded by valuable works of art, porcelain

and earthenware, the collector is increasingly interested in myths and legends: the god Mami in Mesopotamia, Athena and Prometheus in Greece, Khoum in Egypt, Cura among the Romans, Nuwa in China, Olorun, Juok in Africa, Viracocha for the Incas, and the Golem of Prague in the Jewish traditions. All these myths speak about the creation of life from clay, the mother earth. It is his theologian friend Ernest Neville who shares all this information with him.

After a long and secret research conducted in his office at the museum, as revealed by Angela Fleuriot, Revilliod discovers the existence of a magical artifact supposed to confer eternal life. It is in a temple in Egypt. He asks

his friend Angela Fleuriot, collector and adventurer, to accompany him. There, he discovers the artifact, but he will not return alive from this journey.

Before his death in Cairo on December 21, he had the artifact sent to a safe to his steward and friend Godefroy Sidler, with instructions to hide it. Which he did.

A century later, during the major renovations of the museum in the 1990s, the vault was moved and damaged, creating the breach.


what's in the safe?

Answer 1:

A magic formula for giving and preserving life. The magical artifact, supposed to create life, found by Gustave Revilliod in Egypt and sent to Geneva.


What happened to Gustave Revilliod in Cairo on December 21, 1890?

As explained by Angela Fleuriot, before the death of the famous Geneva collector on December 21, 1890,

the two collectors were followed in Cairo by strange individuals bearing an unknown symbol.

It was the Brotherhood of Osiris,

the Egyptian god of death. Fleuriot and Revilliod had found the magical artifact of Osiris, supposed to confer eternal life. The brotherhood, which kept this artifact, tried to find it, but too late! Gustave Revilliod had already sent it to Geneva.

The brotherhood then got rid of the collector... Answer 4, he

was murdered by a secret brotherhood.


How do you explain the time breach?

Answer 4: during the museum renovations, a powerful object was damaged.

The power of the artifact was activated and extended to the museum, creating a time breach.

What do you do with the safe?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. But is it really a good idea to open the safe, keep

it or give it back???


From fiction to reality

The Cobalt Pyrim is a game loosely inspired by the history of the Musée Ariana and the life of its founder Gustave Revilliod (1817-1890). If the brief presentation of the museum is historically correct, certain elements of the adventure are of course deliberately romanticized.

Although Ariane De la Rive (1871-1876), Godefroy Sidler (1836-1910), Angela Fleuriot (†1890) and Ernest Naville (1816-1909) were all part of Gustave Revilliod’s life, some of their personality traits where fictionalized.

It is especially the case for the character of Gustave Revilliod, with whom some liberties were taken for the game. Even though, sometimes... reality goes beyond fiction!

Gustave Revilliod, a man opened to the world

A savvy collector, tireless traveler, man of humanities and enlightened philanthropist, the Genevan Gustave Revilliod (1817-1890) is a man out of the ordinary. His major work is the Musée Ariana, which he built to house his collections, and above all, to share his passion for the arts with his fellow citizens. He named it Ariana, after his beloved mother Ariane De la Rive (1791-1876).

Occupied with his travels, his collections, the building of his museum and his numerous commitments with Genevan institutions, Revilliod left no trace of any obsession with myths and potions of immortality. He conducted his studies and research probably from his home and not from the museum, since it opened in 1884, only six years before his death.

He was passionate about the virtuosity of artists, craftsmen and literature. Particularly keen on ceramics, he originally dedicated more than two entire rooms of his museum to it. In addition, his oriental collections mainly consisted of ceramics, most of it from China and Japan. Finally, he was certainly a lover of the human being.

His travels are by no means the sole source of acquisition of his oriental pieces. It is very difficult to separate the curiosities brought back from his journeys from purchases made in Europe from merchants or universal exhibitions. Revilliod maintained a long commercial relationship with the antique dealer Angela Fleuriot (also who died in 1890) who became his loyal advisor on the Parisian market without having the impetuous character implied in the game.

Gustave Revilliod had no children, thus no direct heirs. His nephew and niece, children of his brother Charles, still inherited a sizeable sum of money. But it was to the City of Geneva, hence to the public community, that he bequeathed his family's fortune, his collections, his real estate properties and, of course, the Musée Ariana.

On his last trip to Cairo in December 1890, it is not known whether Gustave sought to enrich his collection or to enjoy the mild climate during the winter. Nevertheless, arriving there in good shape and looking forward to enjoying life in Egypt, he died three days later after having felt unwell. According to his wishes, his tomb was placed under large oak trees in his beloved estate of Varembé, on which the Palais des Nations is now located.

When reality catches up with fiction

Gustave Revilliod did not seek to unravel the secret of eternal life and he did not send any mysterious chest to Geneva from Cairo. On the other hand, between 1857 and 1884 he prepared five time capsules, which he hid in his houses, in the Old Town and on the Varembé estate, but also in the museum itself. He imagines these boxes as real and direct messages for the Genevans of the future: "To you who will find these lines, while for a long time I will have been sleeping with my fathers away from this perishable land, I want to send this memory, thinking that you will be curious to know who I am, I who live and own Varembé where you will be in my place."

These time capsules are each different and contain newspapers (local and international), photographs, books, wine bottles and glasses, coins and medals, calendars and almanacs, but also handwritten messages addressed to those who will find the boxes. Their contents are now kept at the Musée Ariana and the Geneva Society of History and Archaeology.

For more information: 

  • www.ariana-geneve.ch
  • Danielle Buyssens, Isabelle Naef Galuba, Barbara Roth Lochner (dir.)
    Gustave Revilliod (1817-1890), un homme ouvert au monde
    Musée Ariana, Genève, 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2018
    ISBN 978-88-7439-825-6
    (available in municipal libraries and for sale at the Musée Ariana)
  • Musée Ariana, Genève
    Banque Paribas (Suisse), Genève; Institut suisse pour l'étude de l'art, Zürich, 1995, 128 pages, Français
    ISBN 3-908184-47-9
    (available in municipal libraries)
  • Musée Ariana - Musée suisse de la céramique et du verre
    Musée Ariana / Musée d'art et d'histoire, Genève; Ville de Genève, Genève, 1993,
    82 pages, Français
    ISBN 2-8306-0099-1
    (available in municipal libraries and for sale at the Musée Ariana)