Ivan Mestrovic

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Meštrović, Ivan


Born Aug. 15, 1883, in Vrpolje; died Jan. 16, 1962, in South Bend, USA. Croatian sculptor. Of a peasant family.

From 1901 to 1904, Mestrovic studied at the Vienna Academy of Arts under O. Wagner and others. Beginning in 1903 he participated in the exhibitions of the Vienna Sezession. Having been arrested by the Ustase police in 1941, Mestrovic left Yugoslavia in 1942. From 1947 he lived in the United States. His early work reflects the influence of Rodin (Fountain of Life, Zagreb, bronze, 1905). In his later works, inspired by the sculpture of E. A. Bourdelle and the principles of art nouveau, the sculptor sought to create a national style imbued with ideas of liberation (sculptural decoration for a cathedral that was never built; in memory of the battle on Kosovo Polje in 1389; marble, bronze, and plaster of paris; 1907–12; mostly at the People’s Museum, Belgrade).

Working with large-scale plastic masses to which he imparted dramatic tension and subordinating volume to rhythmic principles, Mestrovic executed generalized heroic sculptures that contrasted with the surrounding space. Fascinated by the idea of artistic synthesis, he also worked as an architect (Monument to the Unknown Soldier, Mount Avala, near Belgrade; the Fine Arts Palace, now the Museum of the People’s Revolution, Zagreb—both 1934–38). There is a Mestrovic Gallery in Split, and the sculptor’s house in Zagreb has been made into a museum.


Dennoch will ich hoffen. Zagreb, 1943.
Uspomene na polittfke ljude i dogadjaje. Buenos Aires, 1961.


Sapego, I. “Skul’ptura Ivana Meshtrovicha.” Iskusstvo, 1965, no. 9, pp. 37–44.
Tupitsyn, I. K. Ivan Meshtrovich. Moscow, 1967.
Kedkemet, A. Ivan Meštrovic. Belgrade, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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