For many, the name might not ring a bell, but Ivan Meštrović – who is often described as Croatia’s most famous sculptor – was one of the most renowned artists of the early twentieth century. Among other distinctions, he was the first artist to have a one-man exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in 1915, and he was the first living artist to exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, in 1947. His work quickly became popular, even with the likes of Auguste Rodin who once said that Meštrović is the greatest phenomenon among sculptors and even greater sculptor than he was.
Today, several museums hold Meštrović’s work, and his public sculpture can be found in Europe and the United States. Some of his most well known sculptures in Croatia include a portrait of the inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla, who was a friend of the his, and the towering likeness of Gregory of Nin (1929) that stands outside Diocletian’s Palace in Split. Meštrović’s most iconic work in the United States is The Bowman and The Spearman (1926-1928), the famous pair of equestrian statues that guard the entrance to Chicago’s Grant Park.
To find out more about Mestrovic and Zagreb art check out our Zagreb Walk and Talk Tour