Thursday, May 23, 2013

Every Mile a Memory ( part 6 ) Split and Ivan Maestrovic Gallery

From Dubrovnik we sailed to another city in Croatia..... Arriving at the break of dawn, we were informed that we were going to board the ship's tenders ( life boats ) to their port.

Split is one of the Adriatic's most amazing seaports and Croatia's second largest city. It is one of the most popular destinations is Split's historic center which was named a UNESCO World heritage site in 1979. It’s main attraction is the Diocletian's Palace. Unfortunately, we decided to go to a more interesting tour to visit the Ivan Maestrovic Gallery, Solin and Trogir..

Come with me as we visit the Ivan Maestrovic Gallery. My friend, Lulu was the one who suggested this tour. I wasn't familiar with his work but as we entered the grounds of the gallery it reminded me of another famous sculptor, Rodin whose sculptures are now at the Standford University in California. I found out later from our tour guide that Mestrovic admired the work of Rodin, the internationally renowned French sculptor who introduced movement and exaggerated expression into sculpture. The two artists met in Vienna, when Mestrovic was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, and the two developed a friendship rooted in mutual respect for each other’s work. Most of these sculptures were created during Mestrovic’s early years in Vienna when his attraction to Rodin’s style was at its strongest.

The Ivan Mestrovic Gallery was built in Split between 1931 and 1939.The museum was formerly his home contains his sculptures inside and in an open air garden. I was simply mesmerized by his work and his love of Croatia.

( panorama of the Maestrovic Gallery ) 

The gardens were nicely manicured with larger than life sculptures. Greek temple front, with a wonderful symmetric garden on both sides of the grand stairs leading to the entrance. The view from the porch was spectacular.

Ivan Maestrovic ( also known as  the " Rodin of Croatia " ) was the greatest sculptor in Croatia. Born on August 15,1883 and died in January 16, 1962, was known for his religious sculptures. The Ivan Maestrovic Gallery in Split, was donated by the sculptor himself in 1950 contains 86 statues in marble, stone, bronze, wood, 17 drawings, and also eight bronze statues. Once inside you will get a feeling of spaciousness and calm. The walls are white and there is plain wood which means that there was nothing to detract from the sculptures themselves. They were labelled in English. Here are some of my favorite pieces in his gallery:

The bust of St. John the Baptist

The Pieta

 sculpture of his favorite subject...... his wife

sculpture of Maestrovic with his wife and his son.

Although I had not heard of this great artist before visiting Croatia, I really enjoyed seeing his works. They were just amazing! Some were beautiful, some were powerful. This was an incredible “ hidden gem ” of a museum displaying the works of one of the great sculptors of the 20th century. I definitely recommend it as one of the top places to visit when you are in Split, Croatia.

Next stop Solin....

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