Monday, February 28, 2011

Remembrance – Remembering Meštrović

The painting Remembrance (see below)  was inspired by the sculpture, also named Remembrance, created by Ivan Meštrović ( 1883, Croatia – 1962, USA). This marble sculpture is to be found in the collection of Narodni Muzej (National Museum) in Belgrade, Serbia. Meštrović was a phenomenal sculptor known for his powerful epic sculptures loaded with emotion and movement.  He was an internationally renowned artist  whose work, in my opinion and in terms of expressiveness and emotion, could easily be compared to the  art of famous Rodin. In fact, Rodin himself called Meštrović  “the greatest art phenomenon of their time”. However, just before the outbreak of the First World War, Meštrovic abandoned his epical stylization and concentrated his  attention towards the religious themes. His sculpture lost some of its iconic epic energy, but gained more spiritual depth in return.  Below you can see some samples of Meštrović’s sculptures from the public places and museums from Croatia, Serbia, Monte Negro and the US.

My painting Remembrance is a homage to this great artist, whose sculptures inspired me greatly during my studies at the art academy. In fact, at the end of the second year, I was so moved by his art that I almost decided to became a sculptor instead of a painter.
Remembrance, oil on canvas, 50 X 70 cm, 2003


  1. those are beautiful sculptures. what an artist Mestrovic was! it's a shame he isn't better known.

    I really like the painting too. I love the paint application.

  2. Thanks Petar for this great post - very inspiring.

  3. Vincent – Well, why some great artists never get the deserved attention on the international level, although their art has the universal character, is a mystery. But, one thing is sure – there are three main preconditions that have to be met in order to achieve that goal: there has to be a right person - on the right place – in the right time. Take one of these three things out of the presented context, and the whole will not function properly…. I know it from my own experience – born in Former Yugoslavia (Serbia) – living in the Netherlands – working mainly for the US market… and on the top of that, wrestling with the traumas and consequences of the civil war in former Yugoslavia…It is not easy… my ”springboard” is quite different from a “springboard” of, for instance, much respected US colleagues, although we are working for the same art market and “compete” within the same relatively small area of fantasy illustration…One might call it destiny… C'est La Vie.

    As for great Meštrović, he was very known internationally and nationally during his life, and he was regarded as the greatest sculptor of Former Yugoslavia. His sculptures still decorate, gracefully and majestically, many places all over that unfortunate country that fell apart in a bloody civil war during the nineties.
    Thank you Vincent for your comment!

    Larry – no thanks at all!

  4. He was one of the greatest Croatian sculptors of 20th century. At the beginning of 1920's Meštrović's sculptures commanded better prices than Rodin's at American auctions.
    I had luck to see some of his most important sculptures in person, including Pieta (pics 11-14) from The Pontifical Croatian College of St. Jerome in Rome.
    Btw, on Sotheby's auction several months ago, Meštrović's small 14 inches marble (which was estimated at £ 40.000 – 60.000) fetched £ 85.250 ($ 125.000).

  5. Thank you, Valentino, for your comment and the additional information about Mestrovic. Much appreciated!

  6. Love the Indian sculptures in Chicago. We use to climb when we were in art school (dumb artschool antics). We were told the spears are intentionally left off for our mind to fill in. Works for me.
    Love your work Petar.

  7. The Indian sculptures in Chicago look so powerful. The missing spears are an intriguing element, indeed. I would love to see these sculptures in person.
    Thanks, Jerry!