She was born in Switzerland in 1865. Her father was a French pastor, and her mother from the Vaud valley in Piedmont. She lived in France for 14 years as her father was a pastor with the parishes of Ollières and then Bourg-en-Bresse. She started her drawing and painting training as soon as her family moved back to Switzerland. In 1896 she pursued her studies in Paris along with noteworthy religious and charitable activities, such as the Committee for Hope, and the Blue Cross.
When she moved back to Switzerland she devoted her life as an artist to social activities, especially for women.
She regularly came and stayed in the Cévennes region where her ancestors had suffered from intolerance after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. She kept in touch with the Musée du Désert, a source of inspiration and a repository for many objects dating from the Désert which she represented in her work.
Protestant history in Jeanne Lombard's work
She was led by her faith and developed her art on the theme of religious memory. She painted still lives and portraits regularly interspersed with large paintings on Huguenot or Cévennes themes, such as :
- Women prisoners in the Tour de Constance (1907)
- Funeral Service in the High Cévennes (1918)
- Women reading the Bible by the hearth (1919)
- The clandestine baptism (1925)
- [glsosary_exclude]The Desert Assembly (1934)
When she was 73 she signed her last large canvas called Women prisoners reading the Bible in the Tour de Constance to be exhibited at the Musée du Désert in 1938, as her social activities still went strong.
She died in 1945 after producing paintings for 65 years, thus leaving a testimony of her faith expressed through her art featuring the Huguenot memory.
The Désert museum
The “Désert” period in French Protestantism lasted from the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIIV (1685) to the Edict of Tolerance (1787), when Louis XVI restored civil rights to all non-catholics. It was a period when the protestants resisted pressure against them to convert to catholicism – at the beginning they took to arms (the Camisard revolt), but later they rejected the idea of violent combat, choosing instead a pacifist attitude. It was a dangerous time for them and crucial for the survival of their faith in France.
Max Leenhardt (1853-1941)
A painter characterised by his attachment to Montpellier and his strong religious faith.
Edmond-Henri Crisinel (1897-1948)
Edmond-Henri Crisinel was Swiss and one of the influential chroniclers for the daily paper la Revue de Lausanne between the Wars. He was a faithful, close friend of many writers, musicians and artists. He had, however, a melancholic disposition which was reflected in his poetic works.
Pierre Loti (1850-1923)
Pierre Loti, whose real name was Julien Viaud, was a naval officer and a writer. His mother was a faithful follower of the reformed faith and she saw to it that her son was brought up with the same beliefs. Indeed, Pierre Loti always held onto his faith. He lived a full life, travelling all over the world and was lucky enough to have his literary works widely recognized before his death.
In the house where he was born in Rochefort, which has now become a local museum, we can see some of his personal possessions. These enable us to relive his adventures and dreams.
Edmond Jeanneret (1914-1990)
Edmond Jeanneret was a pastor in the Reformed Church of Neuchâtel and particularly ministered in Leysin and Bôle. He was a theologian, a reader of Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and a poet. He was especially fond of the reformed poets of the Renaissance era, but he also referred to Dostoievski, Paul Valéry and Saint John Perse.
Paul Ricœur (1913-2005)
Paul Ricoeur considered himself to be a philosopher by profession and Christian in his religion. He was thought to be one of the greatest post-war French thinkers. Ricoeur lived a peaceful life, far from the limelight of the media, a man whose thinking led to positive action. Through « the conflict of interpretations », he sought a fragile balance between the wisdom of compromise and the love of one’s neighbour.