As one of the departments the Museum also houses the Gallery of Old and Contemporary Masters. Since 1939 the Gallery has collected more than 5300 works of art, which have been divided into 10 separate collections. Currently there are two permanent exhibitions: The Old Masters and The 20th Century Croatian Masters, which are alternately on display on the first floor of the baroque Sermage palace.
Owing to the shortage of exhibition space permanent collections are closed from time to time so that other exhibitions can take place.
The Old Masters permanent exhibition
The Old Masters permanent exhibition includes works of art by home and foreign authors, which are shown chronologically from 15th to the end of the 19th century. The core of the collection builds the paintings from the time of baroque, especially Dutch and Italian, from Biedermeier and the second half of the 19th century.
The oldest of the paintings is Madonna of Corn (Žitna Madona) or Our Lady with Corn-cobs (Bogorodica s klasjem), painted in the technique of tempera on wood, the work by an unknown author from the 15th century. It is one of the 80 paintings in Europe which show Our Lady in a dress made of corn-cob, thus being a rarity and a gem in the collection of Varaždin City Museum.
Croatian 20th Century Masters Permanent Exhibition
Over the years a lot has been done to assemble works of art by Croatian authors and thus a memorable collection has been made, leading to the opening of the permanent exhibition at the end of 2006. The new department includes about a hundred works of art by 81 Croatian artists who worked in 20th century. The exhibited works include such prominent names from Croatian visual arts of the last century as: Vlaho Bukovac, Ivan Meštrović, Miroslav Kraljević, Josip Račić, Ljubo Babić, Vladimir Becić, Ivo Režek, Vilim Svečnjak, Kosta Angeli Radovani, Ivan Lovrenčić, Milena Lah, Miljenko Stančić, Đuro Seder etc.