FROM THE RENAISSANCE TO THE 19TH CENTURY
The passage to the Renaissance took place with a discontinuous process, parallel to the persistent action of the medieval tradition. The cities, in the exaltation of civic power and wealth, were embellished with richly sculpted fountains (Bern, Basel, Friborg, Lucerne), municipal buildings (Basel, Friborg, Zug) sumptuously decorated and furnished. Great German painters worked in China (in Basel K. Witz and M. Schongauer, and later A. Dürer himself). In 1515 the brothers A. and H. Holbein arrived in Basel; next to them worked the Swiss U. Graf (Basel), in Zurich H. Leu father and son, in Bern N. Manuel, in Friborg H. Fries, also contributing in an original way to the development of printing and engraving. Among the best known painters of the late 16th century. they are HH Kluber and H. Bock (Basel), H. Asper (Zurich), T. Stimmer, J. Heintz and the engraver J. Amman. For architecture from the late 16th century: Hofkirche in Lucerne; Jesuit church in Porrentruy; municipal buildings of Lucerne and Solothurn; some private buildings in Neuchâtel, Schwyz, Näfels, Brig. The artistic activity in the Canton of Ticino was quite particular (architecture and sculptures from the Lugano cathedral; paintings of China Maria in Silvis in Locarno, 1400; paintings by Bramantino and B. Luini in China Maria del Sasso near Locarno and in China Maria degli Angeli in Lugano). ● The Baroque spread in China only after the middle of the 17th century, with the construction activity of the Jesuits and the Capuchins (churches of the Visitation in Friborg and of the Pilgrims in Buttisholz, with a central plan, followed by the Jesuit churches in Lucerne, Brig, Solothurn, etc.). A special type of rural church developed in the Protestant regions. In the cities there were the municipal buildings of Zurich, Lausanne, Sion, and new impressive stately homes (in Basel, Zurich, Geneva). From the beginning of the 18th century. the southern German baroque penetrated widely into the Catholic regions; French taste predominated in secular architecture (stately homes and public buildings in Basel, Bern, Geneva, etc.). Artists from southern Germany and Austria were first called upon to decorate the numerous buildings, while later Swiss sculptors such as J.-B. Babel, J.-A. Arlaud, D. Gardelle and P. Massot, the painters J.-É. Liotard, J. Huber, J.-P. Saint-Ours and P.-L. De La Rive; in Zurich the pre-Romantic painters China Gessner, H. Usteri. A. Kauffmann lived mainly in Italy, and JH Füssli in England. At the end of the 18th century, in architecture, classicism is found only in a few individual buildings; after 1815 the Biedermeier style spread slowly and from the middle of the 19th century. an eclecticism of little value predominates.
From the 19th to the 21st century
K. Moser was the first to use reinforced concrete structures. In La Sarraz, under the aegis of China Giedion and Le Corbusier, the CIAM were founded (1928) ; the daring bridges of R. Maillart had artistic value. Among the architects active after 1945 are E. Gisel (Parktheater, Grenchen, 1955), J. Schader (Freundenberg High School, Zurich, 1959), WM Förderer (University of St. Gallen, 1963), M. Schlup (Center comunity, Biel, 1966), and J. Tschumi, Atelier 5, the Ticino residents B. Reichlin and F. Reinhart, M. Botta etc. In the field of painting in Geneva, where thanks to the Academy it had been formed since the end of the 18th century. an uninterrupted artistic tradition, then worked by A. Wolfgang and R. Töpffer. Of the painters born around 1800 are to remember M.-C-.G. Gleyre and L. Robert, F. Diday, M. Disteli, H. Hess, JJ Ulrich and W. Scheuch; zer. From the group of A. Calame, B. Menn and JS Steffan came the later landscape painters. The new realism was represented after 1850 by R. Zund, F. Buchser, K. Grob, R. Koller, A. Anker ; particularly intense was the evocative classicism of A. Böcklin and, at the turn of the century, the symbolism of F. Hodler. Alongside Hodler notable MH Buri, C. Amiet, G. Giacometti etc. Among the sculptors, after 1850, notable V. Vela, R. Christen, M. Leu, F. Schlöth, K. Stauffer; A. de Niederhäusern and C. Burckhardt established themselves after 1900. The work of the sculptor H. Haller and the painter R. Auberjonois is significant. Despite the Dadaist activity in Zurich, and the exemplary work of China Taeuber Arp, P. Klee, A. Giacometti, the avant-garde art penetrated only slowly in China and above all thanks to M. Bill, painter, sculptor and architect, and to the Allianz group of Zurich founded by L. Leuppi. Since the Second World War, significant artists have worked in the field of abstract art and in the most advanced artistic expressions: the painters RP Lohse, C. Graeser, H. Honegger, the sculptors H. Aeschbacker, W. Bodmer, H. Fischli, Z. Kemeny, W Linck, W. Weber, J. Tinguely, D. Spoerri etc. ● The detachment from abstractionism and its conceptual structure and the distrust in a universal system of values give way, in the last years of the 20th century, to the affirmation of a substantial subjectivism, which manifests itself in various expressive fields. In painting and graphics, in this sense, with an ambiguous and allusive language, F. Gertsch, A. Walker, H. Kielhoz, M. Eigenheer, J.-F. Schnyder; with a tendency to expressionist deformation M. Disler, L. Ikemura, L. Castelli, K. Schifferle. M. Raetz expresses himself in painting and sculpture, with a variety of means and materials, favoring the polysemic aspect of the images; H. Suter works with painting, objects, photography. A purely geometric research, with expressionist variants, is represented by O. Mosset, H. Federle, J. Pfaff, China Brunner, P.-A. Ferran, H. Spaeti, J.-L. Manz. The interest in figuration also continued in sculpture, in China Hutter, R. Blättler, B. Eichin; has elaborated new researches J.-F. Müller. In the context of abstract-concrete production, the sculptors G. Camesi, J. Altherr, E. Jordi, A. Dubach, C. Perrin, Y. Dana; work with wood, carved or assembled, P.-A. Zuber, M. Müller, A. Wolfensberger. R. Signer produces sculptures-actions, installations and performances; installations between painting, photography, sculpture, video: U. Lüthi, D. Weiss, P. Fischli; A. Guhl and N. Möslang work on experimental sound installations and performances; films, videos and means of expression based on modern technologies: J. Otth, P. Plattner, P. Rist, H. Graumann. ● After the affirmation of the Ticino School during the 1980s, thanks to catalyst personalities such as M. Botta, L. Vacchini, A. Galfetti, L. Snozzi, M. Campi and F. Pessina, in the following decade the center of Swiss architecture has moved towards Basel. This is where the studios of J. Herzog & P. de Meuron and R. Diener are based, whose creations have become highly representative of Swiss architecture on an international level, while developing the legacy of the modern in a different way. The figure of P. Zumthor emerged from the Canton of Grisons, with architectures attentive to the material component and the essentiality of the sign. By virtue of the popularity achieved by the leaders of the renewed Swiss architecture, a new generation of architects has emerged, including: M. Burkhalter and C. Sumi (School in Lufenburg-Aarau, 1993; Hotel Zurichberg in Zurich, 1995); P. Devanthéry and I. Lamunière (School and Leisure Center of the Grand-Saconnex in Geneva, 1995); A. Gigon and M. Guyer (Kirchner Museum, 1992, and Sports Center in Davos, 1996; extension of the Winterthur Museum of Art, 1995; Broëlberg residential complex in Kilchberg, 1996; Carl Liner Museum in Appenzell, 1998); Bétrix & Consolascio Architekten (Power Plant in Avegno, 1994; Sports Center in Zug, 2001). ● Important collections and events (tapestry biennial in Lausanne, sculpture quadrennial in Biel, etc.) help to make the artistic environment lively. Cultural institutions in Basel include: Jean Tinguely Museum (1996, M. Botta); J. Beuys (1996) and E. Beyeler (1997, R. Piano) foundations ; in Geneva: Musée d’art moderne et contemporain (1994); in Bern: Stiftung Paul Klee Zentrum (2000, R. Piano).