Ivan Meštrović bigraphy, stories - Croatian sculptor and architect

Ivan Meštrović : biography

15 August 1883 - 15 January 1962

Ivan Meštrović ( August 15, 1883 – January 16, 1962) was a Croatian and Yugoslav sculptor and architect. He is renowned as possibly the greatest sculptor of religious subject matter since the Renaissance, the first living person to have a one man show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.Keckemet, Dusko, Ivan Mestrovic, McGraw-Hill Book Company, NY, NY 1970, unpaginated

Life

Early life

He was born in the village of Vrpolje (then Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, Austro-Hungarian Empire, today Croatia). He spent his childhood in Otavice, a small village located on edge of Petrovo field in Dalmatian hinterland. At the age of sixteen, a master stone cutter from Split, Pavle Bilinić, noticed his talent and he took him as an apprentice. His artistic skills were improved by studying the monumental buildings in the city and his education at the hands of Bilinić's wife, who was a high-school teacher. Soon, they found a mine owner from Vienna who paid for Meštrović to move there and be admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts. He had to quickly learn German from scratch and adjust to the new environment, but he persevered and successfully finished his studies.

[[The Source of Life (1905), fountain in front of Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb]] In 1905 he made his first exhibit with the Secession Group in Vienna, noticeably influenced with the Art Nouveau style. His work quickly became popular, even with the likes of Auguste Rodin, and he soon earned enough for him and his wife (since 1904) Ruža Klein to travel to more international exhibitions.

During World War I and II

In 1908 Meštrović moved to Paris and the sculptures made in this period earned him international reputation. in this time, Ivan was friend of the cubist painter Jelena Dorotka (Helene Dorotka von Ehrenwall). In 1911 he moved to Belgrade, and soon after to Rome where he received the grand prix for the Serbian Pavilion on the 1911 Rome International Exhibition. He remained in Rome to spend four years studying ancient Greek sculpture.

At the onset of World War I, after the assassination in Sarajevo, Meštrović tried to move back to Split via Venice, but was dissuaded by threats made because of his political opposition to the Austro-Hungarian authorities. During the war he also travelled to make exhibits in Paris, Cannes, London and in Switzerland. He was one of the members of the Yugoslav Committee.

After World War I he moved back home to the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and met the second love of his life, Olga Kesterčanek, whom he married shortly after. They had four children: Marta, Tvrtko, Maria and Mate, all of who were born in Zagreb, where they settled in 1922. He was a contemporary and friend of Nikola Tesla . Mestrovic and family would later spend the winter months in their mansion in Zagreb and the summer months in a summer house he built by the end of the 1930s in Split. He became a professor and later the director of the Art Institute in Zagreb, and proceeded to build numerous internationally renowned works as well as many donated chapels and churches and grants to art students.

By 1923 he designed the mausoleum for the Račić family at Cavtat, at and he also created a set of statues for a never-built Yugoslav national temple that would be erected in Kosovo to commemorate the battle that happened there in 1389.,Time Magazine, November 05, 1923

Statue of [[Gregory of Nin, in Split, Croatia, 1929]] He continued to travel to post his exhibits around the world: he displayed at the Brooklyn Museum in New York in 1924, in Chicago in 1925, he even traveled to Egypt and Palestine in 1927. In 1927 he entered a design for the coins of the Irish Free State, and though his design arrived too late for consideration it was adopted in 1965 as the seal of the Central Bank of Ireland. - Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland. "This beautiful Silver Proof €15 coin celebrates the 80th anniversary of the original coin design ‘Girl with Harp’ which was gifted to the Irish State by Ivan Mestrovic in 1927. This design was submitted by the artist as an entry in the competition for the design of the 1928 Irish Free State coinage. Unfortunately, because of difficulty contacting him – he was in the United States - his design arrived too late for consideration. The Chairman of the Design Committee, William Butler Yeats, subsequently wrote “He made one magnificent design and, on discovering that the date had passed, gave it to the Irish Free State with great generosity”. It has been used as the seal of the Central Bank since 1965.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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