While enjoying a culturally rich European vacation, there are few cities more exciting and cosmopolitan than Zürich. Located in north-central Switzerland, the city is home to many banking companies and financial institutions. The city’s wealth also led to the establishment of many quality museums and art galleries.
Touring the galleries and art museums of Zürich is an enlightening activity. Vacationers who want to experience the finer things in life will enjoy a stay in this beautiful city. Here are eight of the most exciting sites in Zürich for art history lovers and scholars.
1. Kunsthaus Zürich
This world-renowned art museum is one of the leaders among its Swiss counterparts. The museum features a special exhibition by the Algerian-French sculptor and photographer Kader Attia. The exhibition calls attention to the appropriation of cultural artifacts by western European countries like Switzerland.
The museum’s collection ranges from the 13th to 21st centuries, touching on Baroque, Romantic, and modern art and photography.
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2. Museum Rietberg
Museum Rietberg has a global approach to art and culture and is Switzerland’s sole museum for non-European art. The museum hosts important works from the Americas, Oceania, Asia, and Africa.
Currently, the museum features an exhibit called “Longing for Nature,” an exploration of Chinese landscape art from a variety of time periods. Another exciting exhibition features the Javanese art of shadow theater.
3. Swiss National Museum
The Swiss National Museum is a source of great national pride. It explores what it means to be Swiss and how the country’s culture has been enriched over the centuries. One of its most popular exhibitions is called “Ideas of Switzerland.” This exhibition examines how Swiss artists and designers have highlighted the national spirit in their work.
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One of the most exciting current exhibits is a sculpture collection called “The Exhausted Man”. The exhibition explores what it means to be a man. It has a broad scope over the centuries and provides enduring images of the human condition, from marble figures to works in other media.
3. Mona Lisa Foundation
The Mona Lisa Foundation is dedicated to studying and preserving the Isleworth Mona Lisa, a counterpart to the widely known version in the Louvre in Paris. A genuine work of Leonardo da Vinci, the Isleworth Mona Lisa is an earlier version of this classic painting, created some fifteen years before the Louvre version. Art historians can study at the Mona Lisa Foundation and learn more about the work of the great master Leonardo and his historical context.
The Mona Lisa Foundation also welcomes art historians and students and is always looking for contributors.
Currently the Isleworth Mona Lisa is on display in Florence, Italy.
4. Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
This museum is dedicated to the pursuit of design and visual communication. Exploring a wide range of time periods, the museum encourages the study of practical objects like furniture and extends to sculpture and photography.
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Some artists featured in the exhibitions include the surrealist Lee Miller, Bruno Monguzzo, and the renowned designer Le Corbusier.
5. Kunsthalle Zürich
This contemporary art museum features a rotating slate of temporary exhibitions. Some artists who have been featured in solo exhibitions include Sherrie Levine, Trisha Donnelly, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Gabriel Orozco. The Kunsthalle has an exploratory mission, bringing together artists with a great spirit of innovation and independence.
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6. Schweizerisches Landesmuseum
This beautiful building, considered a cross between a mansion and a castle, holds a fascinating look at Swiss history. The museum hosts exhibits ranging from domestic and religious artifacts to archaeology studies, putting Swiss life into context throughout the centuries.
7. Migros Museum
This museum holds a varied collection that highlights some of the best contemporary art from Switzerland and around the world. The museum holds many talks and classes that help its patrons gain a historical and artistic perspective on its works.
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A popular current exhibit is called Potential Worlds 2: Eco-Fictions. This exhibit focuses on the interactions between humans and their environment, leading to the possible future dystopias that could come about if the world is not more careful with its natural resources.
8. Museum Haus Konstruktiv
This museum showcases the work of artists, architects, and designers from the 20th and 21st centuries. Current exhibitions include the worlds of Amalia Pica, the winner of the Zürich Art Prize 2020.
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Start Your Swiss Art Journey in Zürich
Since Zürich is located near other cultural centers, it is the perfect base for art lovers to explore the art of Switzerland. Enjoying these outstanding museums should not be limited to people with extensive art backgrounds. Everyone can relate to art on a visual and emotional level.
Together with cultural institutions like the Mona Lisa Foundation, the art museums of Zürich have a great deal to offer. Exploring these museums can be one of the highlights of a tour of Switzerland.