Découvrez les bibliothèques de la Ville de Genève
Toute l'offre culturelle


  • La Bibliothèque de Genève déploie sur 4 sites un patrimoine écrit, imprimé, musical et iconographique unique qu’elle sélectionne, protège, valorise et transmet au grand public comme au public scientifique.
  • Site internet de la Bibliothèque de Genève


  • Les Bibliothèques municipales sont des lieux de rencontre, de découverte et de partage qui vous proposent de nombreux documents à emprunter ainsi que des activités gratuites pour petit-e-s et grand-e-s.
  • Site Internet des Bibliothèques municipales


  • Les musées d’art et d’histoire, le Musée d’ethnographie et le Museum d’histoire naturelle, les Conservatoires et Jardin botaniques et le Fond municipal d’art contemporain proposent un accès à leur bibliothèque scientifique .
  • Site internet


  • Vous avez une question et vous souhaitez une réponse personnalisée? Le réseau des bibliothèques genevoises vous offre, en moins de trois jours, un résultat fiable et des sources identifiées.
  • Service Interroge

Historique

The Centre d’iconographie is the visual archive of Geneva and its citizens. It conserves several million images, mainly covering the city and the canton. Very few books on the region fail to include illustrations from its collections.

"Vue panoramique de Genève depuis la propriété de Charles Bonnet à Genthod", gravure colorisée d'après un modèle de Simon Malgo, 1780, Bibliothèque de Genève, inv. CIG 01M 01

The Centre d’iconographie of the Bibliothèque de Genève (formerly CIG, Centre d'iconographie genevoise) was created in 1993 to gather under one roof the various collections of documentary images touching on the City of Geneva. These collections include portraits of personalities who have been influential in the life of the city, rare maps and urban depictions, as well as views of the countryside, and neighboring regions. They provide information about the environment, activities, and social life of the inhabitants of the territory currently known as Grand Genève, or Greater Geneva.

The period covered by these images runs from the end of the Middle Ages to the present day. Due to the wealth and diversity of its collections, the Centre d’iconographie constitutes an essential resource for anyone in need of images to provide visual documentation for a piece of research, illustrate a publication, or mount an exhibition on local history. The Centre is one of the main institutions of its kind in Switzerland.

"La bouilloire aux prélats, fresque de l’ancien couvent des Dominicains de Palais à Genève", graveur actif à Genève à l’époque de la Réforme, vers 1540, Bibliothèque de Genève, inv. CIG 44M 01

The documentary approach

A documentary perspective and an acquisition policy centered on local and regional images are a fundamental part of the history of the Centre d’iconographie and have remained unchanged since the institution’s creation in 1993. The same approach was shared by the two bodies that are the sources of its collections today, namely, the Picture department of the Bibliothèque de Genève and the Documents department of Old Geneva under the auspices of the Musées d'art et d’histoire.

The missions

The main ambition of the Centre d’iconographie is to provide a visual archive of the history and life of Geneva. The Centre d’iconographie welcomes and preserves any valuable document collection centered on local images, except for any documents issued by public institutions or amateur picture collections that are devoid of any specialized interest (see acquisitions policy).

La plus ancienne photographie datable de Genève : "Le chantier de surélévation du marché couvert de Bel-Air (aujourd’hui le Crédit agricole)", photographe anonyme, printemps 1842, Bibliothèque de Genève, inv. CIG Phot21P 11 02

The visual counterpart of the Department of manuscripts and private archives, the Centre ensures, under the supervision of the Unité Régie, the long-term preservation, appropriate upkeep, and classification of the documents it is entrusted with.

Its acquisitions policy and the choices it must make are oriented by the needs of its users, most of whom come to the Centre d’iconographie in search of high-quality, i.e. publishable, images on a variety of subjects pertaining to the history of Genevan politics, economy, society, sports, religion, architecture or culture.

To make consulting our documents easier, the Centre d’iconographie is open to the public and is making the resources of its collections available online.

Valorization of the images

The Centre d’iconographie promotes the spread of the images in its care among the broader public. The institution boasts years of expertise in the identification of topographic views of Geneva based on a detailed knowledge of the evolution of the city between the mid-19th and late 20th centuries. It also makes available to readers and library patrons the main publications dealing with the iconography of Geneva (RERO Explore Genève) as well as a photo library that is classified topographically.

The Centre d’iconographie has a column titled «Genève au fil du temps» in the Tribune de Genève, featuring a different image from its collections every day, accompanied by a commentary. The Centre also takes part in outreach and enhancement projects by being actively involved in a range of exhibitions and, with partnering institutions, promoting the creation of tools to help the public better understand its collections and local history.

Research

The development of studies centered on its collections is one of the key areas that the Centre d’iconographie is looking to enhance.

The Centre has launched a research project on the origins of photography in Geneva, whose first part involves the publication of a catalogue raisonné of the works of Jean-Gabriel Eynard (1775-1863), Geneva’s most famous daguerreotypist.

"Autoportrait de Jean-Gabriel Eynard au milieu de ses proches devant sa maison de Beaulieu", daguerréotype, vers 1844-1845, Bibliothèque de Genève, inv. CIG DE 051

The Centre d’iconographie supports and welcomes studies that focus on its collections by making available to researchers all documents concerning the prominent personalities whose own picture collections are preserved in its archives. The Centre encourages in particular research on the body of work created by the Boissonnas family and in particular the photographer Frédéric Boissonnas (1858-1946), whose studio yielded a rich collection purchased by the City of Geneva in 2008.

Passage de la Tour 2
1205 Genève

T: +41 22 418 46 70
F: +41 22 418 46 71
cig.bge(at)ville-ge[dot]ch

Monday to Friday: 9 am – 12 am (by appointment)

Nicolas Schätti
Curator
nicolas.schaetti(at)ville-ge.ch
T: +41 22 418 46 77