An exhibition of sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic from the collection of the Serbian National Museum in Belgrade opened on Tuesday night at the museum.
During December and January, visitors to the museum will have an opportunity to see 40 works by the famous Yugoslav sculptor, most them created before World War I, the so-called “Vidovdan fragments”.
The exhibition was opened by Darko Tanaskovic, chairman of the board of Ddrectors of the museum, who called the show “a continuation of the dialogue between the National Museum and Belgrade with one of the greatest artists from our region”.
“We are constantly surrounded by Mestrovic and this dialogue has been going on for just over a century,” Tanaskovic said.
The so-called Vidovdan Fragments were designed for an unrealized monumental architectural and sculptural ensemble, the Vidovdan Temple, envisaged as a kind of secular temple to the idea of Yugoslav unity – an idea that Mestrovic was instrumental in realising after World War I, when Austria-Hungary collapsed and a new Yugoslav state was created. A wooden model of the Vidovdan Temple, made in 1912, is also exhibited in Belgrade in cooperation with the National Museum in Krusevac.
Born in Croatia in 1883, the artist adhered from an early age in the idea of cultural and political unity and the liberation of the South Slavic peoples.
Works from his Vidovdan cycle attracted great attention and were exhibited all over Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. They were famous not only because of their artistic values but also for their obvious political and cultural engagement. Mestrovic left Yugoslavia before the communist takeover at the end of World War II and died in exile in the US in 1962.