Sunday, 5 April 2009

Around the museums of Zagreb

Above: a photo that I took sneakily at the wonderful Zagreb City Museum. Not every museum in Zagreb is put together this well: architecturally sensitive, thoughtfully laid out and jam packed with interesting objects . The museum is housed in a very beautiful building too, over ancient ruins which have been carefully uncovered and can now be walked through -- a double treat. Unfortunately I was in a rush when I was there and did not note who painstakingly made this tableau of nuns clothed in their various miniaturised orders. It is likely that it was one of The Poor Clares, who first settled in Zagreb in the 17th century. Strangely, these women were all actually from wealthy families and therefore undeserving of their poetic title. Read more about them here, and see a little of the above work in situ to get an idea of its scale. Above: from The Croatian Museum of Naive Art, also in the Old Town of Zagreb. Kod Suda (At the Courthouse) 1936 by Mirko Virius (1889 - 1943) a painter of peasant origin whose artistic career began late in life. Virius was a founding member of the Hlebine School, which was an important movement in the naive art of the region. As is evidenced by his subject matter, he was also an active political defender of the peasant class and was sent to die in a concentration camp as a result.
Above: Preplaseni Konji (Frightened Horses), 1937 also by Mirko Virius. I love this picture: there is a pathos about the composition and an attention to detail which makes it quite compelling.

Above: Ivan Rabuzin (1921- 2008), a later, highly popular and more conventional naive artist than Virius. Rabuzin's work concentrates on idealised landscapes in a highly decorative style. The repeated spheres seen here in Orehovec Hills (1959) are his trademark, and I am not sure whether I find them captivating or twee. Maybe both.

More work of artists from the region can be seen here.

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