The collection of the Museo Cantonale d'Arte is above all made up of works of the XIX and XX centuries, albeit with few - although important - exceptions from previous centuries which document some of the most outstanding Ticinese artists who worked in the region and in Italy, such as Giovanni Battista Discepoli, Pier Francesco Mola and Giuseppe Antonio Petrini.
As it is not the result of a previously established nucleus of works, the Museum's permanent collection has been conceived and programmed according to the principles that distinguish the Museum's identity and field of activity: in other words, with attention paid to the interdisciplinary nature of the arts, reference to the geographical region as a 'border and exchange zone' between the north and south of Europe and the grafting of local artistic experiences within the broader context of the national and international artistic panorama.
The collection not only includes works by Ticinese artists, or Swiss and foreign artists who worked or sojourned in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. It also comprises Italian and foreign artists who played a leading role in the field of both modern and contemporary art history such as Degas, Renoir, Pissarro, Orozco, Dijkstra and Struth, to mention only a few.
During the creation of the Museum's permanent collection the group of works selected from the State's artistic patrimony has subsequently been added to by way of deposits on the part of other Swiss museums, by the Confederation and the Gottfried Keller Foundation, together with numerous loans, bequests and private donations. In recent years the Museum has also benefited from an important donation on the part of Count Panza di Biumo which allows the institute to be considered among the most important Swiss museums possessing works belonging to the Post-Minimal and Conceptual art currents.
An important contribution to the growth of the collection is also offered by the ProMuseo Association which regularly purchases works that are then left in deposit with the Museum.
The collection of the Museum is not on permanent display, but is regularly shown in changing combinations.
This section of our website gives you the opportunity to browse and search the collection database.