Andrea Sacchi, Jan Miel, Filippo Gagliardi, Painting of the Jesuit Church Il Gesù in Rome, 1640. Celebration of one century Order of Jesuits. Collection Nazionali d'Arte Antica di Roma. Exhibition: 'Barock. Zeitalter der Kontraste'. Nationalmuseum Zurich. Photo/Foto: TES

Baroque is more than a matter of style. This cultural epoch, between 1580 and 1780, was a time of enormous contrasts: opulence and innovation on the one hand, death and crises on the other.

Ongoing religious wars and the opening up of global trade networks resulted in power gains and cultural exchange, but there was also famine and exploitation. Switzerland played its part in all this radical change: Swiss architects designed major works throughout Europe, Swiss artists and scientists were part of international networks, clothing and interiors reflected the culture of the French court, and the worldwide circulation of products and knowledge had life-changing impacts.

The exhibition presents beautiful objects from Baroque architecture, garden culture, fashion and art, focusing on the historical context of these items in order to illuminate this creative epoch in all its glorious ambiguity.