The Meštrović Gallery
The Meštrović Gallery
About the Gallery
Throughout the second decade of the 20th century, Ivan Meštrović bought plots in the area of Meje, the western part of Split, with the intention of building his future residence. Construction works began at the end of the 1920s. The land is fenced in by a southern wall with two auxiliary buildings right next to the entrance (according to the project by Fabijan Kaliterna) over which a promenade with stone columns and wooden beams would be erected at a later point, and farther in the direction from the east a villa would be built. For this representative architectural structure Ivan Meštrović, the alpha and omega of the idea of the project, collaborated with architect Lavoslav Horvat and for the construction of the building project with Harold Bilinić and construction entrepreneur Marin Marasović, the head of the performance of the entire structure.
The construction of the eastern wing with the studio and office in the ground floor and the living spaces on the first floor began in 1931. In the course of the works, the terrain is straitened, the supporting and new fence walls are erected, the auxiliary studio for modeling sculptures in clay is built (1934), and outside the complex of the villa, towards the sea, two workshops are built for the carving of caryatids of the Monument to the Unknown Hero on Avala. In 1937, the entrance porch is extended, the vehicle access road is constructed, the central ground-floor part of the house is built and, finally, during 1938 and 1939, the west wing of the building with a storage room for models and the central hall of the first floor are built.
According to Meštrović’s instructions, the park horticulture is designed and Mediterranean herbs are planted. Meštrović’s concept of the villa in Meje was based on three purposes: work, living and exhibiting, which are becoming more and more spatially defined as construction progresses. The functions merged under the attribute private were placed in the spacious wings, while those of public character were placed in the central body of the house. Today, when the gallery content prevailed, only the original appearance of the dining room evokes the intimacy of what was then the artist’s home and his life in it.
The villa at Meje was the favourite residence of Ivan Meštrović and his family since the summer of 1932, but despite the artist’s desire, it did not become his permanent residence. In April 1941, on the occasion of the death of Marta Meštrović, Ivan’s mother, the family gathered there for the last time. They were caught by the Italian occupation of the city. To avoid arrest, Meštrović goes to Zagreb where he will soon find himself behind bars of Ustaša prison, while his wife and children will finally leave the Split home one year later. Their correspondence from the time is preserved in the Meštrović Gallery as part of the family archive. After the family had left, the property and the house were first looked after Meštrović friend, writer Milan Ćurčin, who lived on site, followed by art historian Cvito Fisković. The artist’s relatives, as well as other families, lived in the villa until 1965
In the Deed of Donation of 31 January 1952, Ivan Meštrović donated four of his buildings and 132 works of art to the Croatian people. According to the attached list, the works were included in the composition of each building, creating thus the preconditions for the formation of the Meštrović Gallery as a museum institution.
The Gallery holds the artist’s masterpieces made of marble (Psyche, 1927; Contemplation, 1924), bronze (Distant Chords, 1918; Cyclops, 1933; Persephone, 1946; Virgin and Child, 1917; Job, 1946), wood (Grieving Angels and Merry Angels, 1916), and plaster (Pietà, 1946), which cover all of the periods of the artist’s prolific creation until 1946.
The permanent setting follows the spatial-thematic definitions. The central hall in the ground floor is decorated as a representative entrance space. It mostly holds marble sculptures. The dining room has kept the original character of the artist’s home. It contains Meštrović’s furniture, several paintings and bronze portraits of family members. The large exhibition hall on the eastern side of the ground floor is dedicated to sacral sculpture, an important theme of Meštrović’s art. The hall is dominated by wooden sculptures of Adam and Eve (1939 – 1941). Alongside the sacral setting, a special space is dedicated to the monumental sculpture Pietà. The hall of the western wing on the first floor displays Meštrović’s works inspired by Impressionism, Secession and Art-Déco. The eastern hall holds sculptures created mainly between the two world wars. Next to it, there is an interesting special hall dedicated to the theme of Job. The large central hall of the first floor is intended for exhibiting sculptures, but also for occasional cultural events in the Gallery. Additionally, the permanent exhibition of the sculptures on the first floor is completed by Meštrović’s drawings.
In addition to museum artefacts (sculptures, drawings, paintings, architectural drawings and furniture), the Gallery preserves documentation referring to the life and opus of Ivan Meštrović – photographs of his first works of art taken at the beginning of the century in Vienna and Paris, as well as archive materials, primarily the family archive found in the house in 1952, containing letters from family members and friends, their personal documents, etc.
SEPAROVIC, Maja. Review of the activities of the Ivan Meštrović Gallery, Cultural Heritage 34, Split, 2007Ivan Meštrović Gallery, permanent exhibition catalog, Ivan Meštrović Foundation, Zagreb, 2005
Plan your visit
Tuesday – Saturday, from 9 AM to 5 PM
The Meštrović Gallery is closed on Mondays, Sundays and public holidays.
• Adults: 50 kn
• Pupils, students, pensioners, STCard: 25 kn
• Family (parents with children under 15): 70 kn
• ICOM, AICA, PRESS, HDLU, ULUPUH, HDNU, UHA, DPUH: free entrance
• Unemployed persons, disabled persons: free entrance
The ticket includes visit to the Meštrović Gallery and the Meštrović’s Crikvine – Kaštilac
COVID-19 PROTECTION MEASURES
Inside of the Meštrović Gallery it is obligatory:
→ to wear face masks
→ to measure body temperature
→ to disinfect hands
→ to keep social distance
If you are not permitted to enter the Ivan Meštrović Museums due to the pervention of the coronavirus pandemic (fever, respratory problems, especially shortness of breath / cough, and the reason of your arrival was to submit a request or some type of inquiry, feel free to contact us in writing, via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone: +385 (0)21 340 800.
Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 46
21000 Split – Croatia
T: +385 (0)21 340 800
F: +385 (0)21 340 810
M: +385 (0)98 982 5861
Docent Guided Tour: 200 kn
Curator Guided Tour: 800 kn
Duration: 45 minutes
Please announce two days in advance.
Visitors with mobility difficulties can visit graden, toilets in the garden and the museum shop.
The Gallery space is accessible with the use of a ramp – please announce it in advance.
Shooting for private purposes, without flash, is allowed.
Permission is required for professional photography and filming, and for the public usage of photographs and recordings.
There is a Wi-Fi access point at the Gallery.