Museum for Music Automatons

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Mural paintings

The Garret, 1942-43. Photo: Dominique Uldry
The Garret, 1942-43. Photo: Dominique Uldry
The Garret, 1942-43. Photo: Dominique Uldry

The Garret in Berne

Dürrenmatt loved to paint the rooms in which he stayed for shorter or longer periods of time. In 1942/43, for the first time he surrounded himself with his own works, covering the walls of his student's garret in Berne with huge, colourful frescoes depicting subjects drawn from mythology, the Bible, contemporary history and his own biography. One wall, devoted to contemporary events, features numerous politicians; the imagery on the others is connected to his literary output (e.g. to his play The Button) or various religious subjects (e.g. the Crucifixion, Salome with the head of St. John the Baptist). He also depicted, in strip-cartoon fashion, his love story with Lotti Geissler.

Since repainted and restored, today the garret serves as a guestroom for Berne's cultural institutions.

Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel

Traces of Dürrenmatt's artistic bent can also be found in his residence in Neuchâtel, where he painted the toilet room with vividly coloured, grinning figures. He and his family subsequently christened the place the "Sistine Chapel", and its joyous "fresco" now belongs to the Centre's permanent exhibition.


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