The gallery is part of the donation made by Ivan Meštrović to the Republic of Croatia in 1952 (along with a family house and studio in Zagreb -the Meštrović Atelier, the Crikvine-Kaštilac sacral and art complex in Split, and the Meštrović family vault - the Most Holy Redeemer Church - near Otavice).
Ivan Meštrović conceptualised the present gallery in Meje (a prestigious part of Split) as a family home, studio, and gallery space; it was built between 1931 and 1939. He surrounded the house with a Mediterranean garden decorated with bronze sculptures. The whole complex offers a unique view of the sea and the central Dalmatian islands. Ivan Meštrović and his family spent their summers there from 1932 onwards.
The gallery contains the artist’s masterpieces executed in marble (Psyche, 1927; Contemplation, 1924), bronze (Distant Chords, 1918; Cyclops, 1933; Persephone, 1946; Madonna and Child, 1917; Job 1946), wood (Sad Angels and Happy Angels, 1916) and gypsum (Pietà, 1946). These works cover all the periods of the artist’s rich creative life until 1946.
The permanent exhibition is arranged spatially and thematically. The central hall on the ground floor is decorated as an impressive entrance space, adorned with mostly marble sculptures. The dining room retains the original character of the artist’s home. It contains Meštrović’s furniture, a few paintings, and bronze portraits of family members.
The large exhibition hall on the east side of the ground floor is devoted to religious sculpture, an important theme in Meštrović’s art. This hall is dominated by wooden sculptures of Adam and Eve (1939-1941). Besides this religious exhibition, there is a special area given to the monumental sculpture of the Pietà.
Upstairs, in the hall of the west wing, Meštrović’s works that were influenced by Impressionism, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco are exhibited. The east hall combines sculptures made mostly between the two world wars. Next to this there is an interesting special hall with the theme of Job. The grand central hall on the first floor is intended for sculpture exhibitions, but also for occasional cultural events in the gallery. The permanent exhibition of sculptures on the first floor is also accompanied by Meštrović’s drawings.
In addition to museum materials (sculptures, drawings, paintings, architectural drawings, and furniture), the gallery also holds documents related to the life and work of Ivan Meštrović – photos of the artist’s first works recorded at the beginning of the 20th century in Vienna and Paris. Archival material is also presented, primarily the family archives found in the house in 1952, containing the letters of family members and friends, their personal documents, and other papers.
The Meštrović Gallery in Split is a villa with the studio of the best known, and world renowned, Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović (Vrpolje, Croatia 1883 – South Bend, Indiana, 1962). It contains some of the artist’s masterpieces in marble, bronze, wood and plaster. Unforgettable are the memories of the Mediterranean garden that surrounds it and the view onto the sea.
Adults: 4,00 EUR /Pupils: 2,00 EUR / Family ticket: 7,00 EUR
Members of ICOM, HMD and similar associations: free admission
Ticket is valid for Meštrović's Crikvine - Kaštilac.
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