• Church of the Most Holy Redeemer

  • ABOUT THE CHURCH
  • PLAN YOUR VISIT
    A massive cube is built on a 20-m high hillside from an indigenous type of stone – limestone and soft siltstone. The cube dominates Petrovo polje to this day, creating a spatial accent that is widely visible from a variety of views. The outer floor plan consists of a simple rectangular base with rectangular protrusions on all four sides, while the wall surface in the interior passes into an octagon. He finds architectural models in the ancient central buildings, such as Diocletian's Mausoleum in Split, while the simplicity of the design of the outer shell and the purity of plastic forms are a reflection of Meštrović’s architectural considerations.

    The modelling of the interior architectural plastics lasted during the entire fourth decade, and Meštrović’s students and associates Grga Antunac, Antun Augustinčić, Ivo Lozica, Marijan Matijević, Dragutin Orlandini and Vanja Radauš worked on it. The inner wall is rhythmically indented by alternating rectangular and semicircular niches. They were used as frames for the reliefs, which were carved by the aforementioned sculptors according to Meštrović's plaster models. The Eternally Crucified carried on the wings of the Seraphim is above the altar, and the four semicircular niches are beautifully adorned by the Evangelists. The north rectangular niche displays the Nativity of Christ iconographically accompanied by the scene of the Annunciation on the lateral walls – the figure of St. Mary and Angel Gabriel, and the south one displays the relief Lamentation, complemented by raptured Souls of the Deceased.

    The painting of the dome, unfortunately, was not completed, but subsequently placed sketches reveal Meštrović’s unusual iconographic solution. The arrangement of figures on sketches is read as a hierarchical series on three levels: sitting prophets or spiritual teachers on the base, and above them ascending archangels directing their bodies towards the central deity in the centre of the dome. The overall iconographic programme can be reconstructed from the large number of sketches and drawings for decorating the dome kept at the Meštrović Gallery in Split. Judging by them, Meštrović's intention was to portray all the great world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism), but also to associate the profane and the sacral in the desire to pay tribute to the greatest spiritual achievements of mankind: art and religion.

    Below the sacred space of the church, buried beneath the ground, there is a sepulchral part. Immediately after the entrance to the church, there is a stone slab on the floor that closes the entrance to the crypt. The entrance to the church was decorated by bronze caisson doors on which Ivan Meštrović had portrayed his family members. The left wing, dedicated to the female line, depicted his mother Marta, his first wife Ruža, his second wife Olga, and his daughters Marta and Marica. On the right he perpetuated the male family members, i.e. his father Mate, his self-portrait, brother Marko, the youngest brother Petar and son Tvrtko. Only three of four Ivan Meštrović's children are shown on the doors. The youngest son Mate was born in 1930, by which time the doors had already been completed.

    Unfortunately, the bronze doors with portraits were stolen during the Great Serb occupation (1991 - 1995) and have not been found to this day.

    References:
    JURIĆ, Zorana. U Meštrovićevom rodnom kraju, Muzeji Ivana Meštrovića, Split, 2010.
    JURIĆ ŠABIĆ, Zorana. Dekodiranje Meštrovića, Muzeji Ivana Meštrovića, Split, 2015.
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