Two of the Crosculpture team members - Dalibor Prančević and Barbara Vujanović - will be visiting Oslo to take part in the two-day seminar "Towards Modernity in Sculpture - Gustav Vigeland and his Contemporaries" which will be held be held at Sentralen on May 23-24 2019.
If you would like to find out more about their presentation, you can read the full summary below. And if you happen to be in Oslo on May 23, drop by Sentralen to hear and see them in person!
Dalibor Prančević, PhD, Assistant Professor (University of Split)
Barbara Vujanović, PhD Student, Senior Curator (Ivan Meštrović Museums – Meštrović Atelier, Zagreb)
Political strength of the sculptural programme: Ivan Meštrović and the position of his sculpture in the first three decades of 20th century art
Ivan Meštrović (1883 – 1962) became an extremely important sculptor in the first half of the 20th century. He obtained his formal education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he soon became an active member of the Association of Fine Artists of Austria – Vienna Secession, participated in the Association’s exhibitions and attracted the attention of specialist and public-at-large. He encountered Auguste Rodin’s sculptural procedure already in Vienna, whom he would hold in high esteem and admiration until Rodin’s death. Although Meštrović created excellent early works that could be observed in the framework of the broader discourse on “Rodinism”, the sculptor would soon reach for monumental sculptural form and often be associated in literature with Franz Metzner or Antoine Bourdelle (the sculptor was none too pleased with the comparison to the latter!). In 1908, Meštrović moved from Vienna to Paris where he intensified his work on the sculptural programme impregnated in large measure with political turmoil and the idea of liberating the sculptor’s homeland from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and its hegemony, and the foundation of the new state union gathered around the idea of South Slav unification. Ivan Meštrović would place that sculptural programme in the service of precisely this idea, thus entering the sphere of practical political activism. Meštrović created the sculptures and architectural framework of the Vidovdan programme (the temple and accompanying sculptural cycles) following templates of historical sculpture and architecture, studying examples of art from ancient civilizations in museum repositories (especially Egyptian or Assyrian art), but also examples from Classical Antiquity. By amalgamating all these influences, he built his artistic language and elicited a wide range of public reactions, but also an interest of many gallery and museum institutions in organizing his exhibitions.
This presentation will analyse Meštrović’s contribution to the monumental sculptural concept and adoption of sculptural visual styles from ancient history, present their adaptation and translation to the modern context of artistic creation and finally analyse their functioning in the wider socio-political setting. This contribution will particularly be contextualized in relation to the French sculptural production, whose closeness to Meštrović was recognized also as a possibility of inclusion of the Croatian sculptor into the French artistic and cultural production. On the other hand, Meštrović’s specific expression, based in classical tradition, was affirmed by using skilfully devised exhibition activities (Salons in Paris, solo exhibition in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and elsewhere) and his presence in public space (monuments in Croatia and abroad), which, in large measure, redefined the direction of Croatian and European sculpture.