Not every town is lucky enough to have an amazing artist’s heritage at its disposal, let alone hundreds of his works in a museum that he designed and built to be his residence. Split is a very lucky town to have exactly that in the shape of a stunning art museum that is the Meštrović Gallery, a building that was meant to be the house of the world-famous and most prominent Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović and his family.

Who was Ivan Meštrović?

Ivan Meštrović was a Croatian artist, primarily sculptor, but also an architect and writer. His sculptures are characterised by symbolism, expressionism and mainly feature the human body in movement with accentuated features. He was the apprentice of a stonemason in Split before proceeding to Vienna to continue his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. His works were popular and exhibited around the world and even praised by the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin. 

Sculpture of Ivan Meštrović in center of Split.

Source: Croatian National Tourist Board, Ivo Biočina

For the last 16 years of his life, he lived and worked as a professor at two American universities. The Bowman and The Spearman in Chicago, St. Jerome the Priest in Washington D.C., Pobednik or The Victor in Belgrade, Well of Life in Zagreb, Marko Marulić and Gregory of Nin in Split are just some of his most famous works displayed all over the world.

The Meštrović Gallery

The Meštrović Gallery, located in the Split neighbourhood called Meje, is a unique museum, where the works are displayed in the building designed by the same artist. Ivan Meštrović had the villa built for him and his family but all of them left Croatia due to political circumstances. The residence was then taken care of by his friends and relatives, until he donated it to the people of Croatia, along with three other buildings and hundreds of his works.

Sculpture of Ivan Mestrovic in front of the Meštrović gallery in Split.

Source: Croatian National Tourist Board, Hrvoje Serdar

Today, the Meštrović Gallery exhibits almost 200 sculptures in marble, wood, bronze and plaster, nearly 300 architectural plans, well over 500 drawings and 4 paintings, all created by the magnificent artist and two furniture sets, one of which was made by his design. In addition, there are also nearly 200 works of art that the Meštrović family owned and documents related to the artist’s life and work displayed in the Gallery.

Furniture inside of the Mestrović Gallery in Split.

Source: Croatian National Tourist Board, Hrvoje Serdar

The location of the Meštrović Gallery and ticket price

Meštrović Gallery is located on the Marjan peninsula, close to the sea and popular Ježinac, Kaštelet and Obojena beaches and about half way from town’s centre to the beautiful Kašjuni beach. It takes around 5 minutes to get to the museum by car or by bus from Split’s Old Town and approximately half an hour by foot. 

The Meštrović Gallery is open every day, except Mondays and public holidays, but it is advised to check the working hours before visiting. You will also have to purchase a ticket. The museum offers various discounted prices, such as for families and students and the ticket includes visiting both the Meštrović Gallery and Meštrović’s Crikvine – Kaštilac, a complex by the sea he restored. The complex contains a chapel with his works, the most impressive one being the carved wooden wall panels

Accomodation near the Meštrović Gallery

Accommodation near Meštrović gallery with double bed.

Since the Meštrović Gallery is a mere 5-minute ride away from Split’s Old Town, the ideal scenario would be staying there. In that case, you would be next to the vivid and lively town events and yet close enough for visiting the splendid art museum. For example, if you stay in Central Square Heritage Hotel or PRIMA Life Spalato, it will take you less than half an hour of walking to get to the Meštović Gallery, slowly strolling by the town’s waterfront and listening to the gentle sound of the waves!

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