The Segantini Museum is an art institution located at the edge of the forest in St. Moritz, Switzerland that showcases the work of the Italian painter Giovanni Segantini. Housed in an unassuming gray building crowned with a dome, Segantini’s paintings vividly capture the essence of life in the mountainous canton of Graubünden. They serve as a testament to the artist’s enduring alpine visions, ensuring his memory lives on through his remarkable artworks.
Overview: Segantini Museum
The Segantini Museum is a museum dedicated to the works of Giovanni Segantini, one of the most famous artists in Europe in the late 19th century. He is an Italian painter who was born in 1858 and lived only until the age of 41 due to an acute sickness.
Inside the Segantini Museum
The Segantini Museum consists of two floors. When you enter, you’ll find the main entrance and reception area on the ground floor. Behind the reception area, you’ll discover convenient lockers and restroom facilities. The initial two rooms on this floor are dedicated to showcasing the paintings of Giovanni Segantini.
The true highlight of the museum is situated on the second floor, accessible via a narrow winding staircase. Here, you’ll encounter spacious rooms with high ceilings and large windows that bathe three magnificent paintings in natural light, creating a captivating viewing experience.
History of Segantini Museum
Segantini Museum was founded in 1908, nine years after Segantini’s death, as an initiative by the citizens of St. Moritz as well as friends and fans of Segantini.
There were three guidelines1 used before building Segantini Museum. These were:
- The main axis of the museum should face Schafberg to the east, where Segantini’s Hut is.
- The building should blend with its surroundings, in particular the wooden terrain on the slope.
- The building should evoke the pavilion that Segantini designed for the 1900 Paris Exposition (Exposition Universelle 1900) held in Paris, France.
The building was designed by the architect Nicolaus Hartmann, one of the most renowned architects in Engadine at the beginning of the 20th century. It was renovated in 1999 by Hans-Jörg Ruch. You can find it near the forest, overlooking his hut in Schafberg, away from the city center of St. Moritz.
The museum attracts visitors from all over the world, hosts temporary exhibitions, and can be even hired for events and family celebrations.
Segantini Museum: What to Expect
Segantini Museum displays the works of and dedicated to the renowned artist Giovanni Segantini. His distinctive style, characterized by the portrayal of the breathtaking Alpine landscapes that surrounded him, is prominently featured in this collection.
The majority of Segantini’s exquisite paintings on display are rendered in oil on canvas. These typically offer viewer a glimpse into the harmonious coexistence of nature, animals, and people. There are also a selection of self-portraits as you enter the first room.
In the second exhibition room, visitors can immerse themselves in Segantini’s artistic exploration of religious themes. This section features paintings about the Mass and scenes such as the Blessing of the Sheep. These works showcase more spiritual elements into his art unlike those about landscapes.
The Alpine Triptych
The highlight of the museum and possibly Segantini’s most notable work is the Alpine Triptych, which you can find on the top floor after climbing a steep staircase leading to the small dome room. Once you reach this space, it feels open and bright because it’s quite spacious and has many windows.
These three huge paintings bear the titles:
- Life (La Vita)
- Nature (La Natura)
- Death (La Morte)
The three large paintings are displayed in the upper part of the museum. They were originally intended for the 1900 Paris Exposition and were meant to be a massive Engadine Panorama covering 220 meters in circumference and reaching a height of 20 meters.
These paintings are done in oil on canvas and are incredibly beautiful. However, due to Segantini’s untimely passing, the project was left incomplete and finished by another painter.
Dr. Oskar Bernhard recalled Segantini’s thoughts regarding these Alpine landscapes as follows (in German): “Ich bin zufrieden, wenn mein Werk das Ansehen und den Ruhm dieses unseres Tales wird vermehren können, das ich als mein natürliches Vater- land und die Eingeberin meiner Kunst verehre.”2
I have included the translation to English below:
I am content if my work can increase the reputation and glory of this, our valley, which I revere as my natural homeland and the source of my art.Giovanni Segantini as narrated by Dr. Oskar Bernhard2
Apart from its permanent displays, the Segantini Museum regularly features temporary exhibitions. These special exhibitions, which change throughout the years, delve into various aspects of Segantini’s art.
They cover themes like the 100th anniversary of his passing, Segantini’s maid, portraits, and more. While I was there, I saw the famous painting A messa prima, as well as the discussion about its earlier form titled Non assolta.
While exploring the museum, guests have the option to navigate the exhibitions independently. However, I highly recommend enhancing the experience by renting the audio guide for a small fee.
Listening to the audio guide offers valuable insights and in-depth information about the featured paintings, enriching the overall visit.
Fantastic Views from Segantini Museum
The Segantini Museum is perched on a steep forested hillside between St. Moritz Dorf and St. Moritz Bad. Its main structure has a domed circular design; its walls are rough and earthy rubble stones. It is definitely unique, simple, and charming
The museum may look plain from the outside with its circular shape, but it’s an iconic and worthwhile destination. As you approach the museum’s entrance and even from the charming little flower garden out front, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking vista of Lake St. Moritz and the majestic mountains all around. It is a popular spot for visitors to take photos and enjoy the scenery.
How to Get to Segantini Museum
The Segantini Museum is a 15-minute walk from the center of St. Moritz. You may also reach it by bus. The bus stop is conveniently located just a few steps away from the museum entrance.
Parking is not available near the museum; you will have to park your vehicle in St. Moritz or St. Moritz Bad.
Via Somplaz 30
7500 St. Moritz
|Bus||St. Moritz, Segantini Museum|
Practical Information: Segantini Museum
- Segantini Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
- The museum is closed on Mondays and select holidays (January 1, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, and Christmas Day). Please check the website for more detailed information.
- The Audio Guide costs CHF 3 to rent.
- Entrance fees are CHF 15 per adult, CHF 10 for students until 25 years old, CHF 5 for children until 15 years old, and free for children under 6. Online tickets are currently not available.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible.
- There are no parking lots near the museum.
Final Thoughts: Segantini Museum
While the Segantini Museum may be small in size, it houses a remarkable collection of well-executed paintings by the renowned Giovanni Segantini. His artworks beautifully capture the stunning Alpine landscapes of his era, making the museum a valuable testament to his legacy, open for all to enjoy.
For art enthusiasts and admirers of picturesque Alpine landscapes, a visit to the Segantini Museum in St. Moritz comes highly recommended. It serves as an exceptional destination, inviting you to immerse yourself in the world of art and explore the rich cultural heritage of Switzerland, with a special focus on the Engadine Valley.
- 1 Hanak, Michael. Eine neue Hülle für das Alpentriptychon: Zum Umbau des Segantini-Museums in St. Moritz. Schweizer Ingeniuer und Architekt, Nr. 27/28, 13. Juli 1999.
- 2 Das Segantini-Museum zu St. Moritz. Die Schweiz : schweizerische illustrierte Zeitschrift, 1908.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.