Descent from the cross

The sculptor Ivan Meštrović (1883-1962) is for Croatia what Auguste Rodin is for France. More than that, actually, as Croatia has only a small number of internationally famous artists. His work can be found all over former Yugoslavia. Meštrović himself was a member of the Yugoslav Committee, which prepared the framework for the Yugoslavia when the Habsburg empire falling apart in World War I.
Sotheby's sold this week Meštrović's Descent from the cross for 250.000 euro, much more than expected. This work, after having been displayed in 1915 in the Albert and Victoria Museum, went missing for almost a century and was rediscovered in 2004.
Unfortunately, Meštrović disappeared too. Not only did he leave fascist ruled Croatia in 1942, but he also seems forgotten by his people. "Meštrović on the way towards oblivion", was the title of an alarming article in 2005. The two museums in Croatia dedicated to the sculptor - the Meštrović Atelier in Zagreb and the Meštrović Gallery in Split - did not do enough to attract. visitors. The situation today is not much better, I can say from my own experience. That's a shame. Zagreb isn't exactly a top destination for art lovers, so it a pity that it neglects its greatest artist. After all, Meštrović is omnipresent in Zagreb. His work can been seen on squares, in gardens and parks, in churches and museums. How much more do you need for a Meštrović Walk? Well, perhaps a more dedicated tourist organisation...

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