Mestrovic, Ivan

Mĕstrović, Ivan

(ē`vän mĕsh`trōvyĭch), 1883–1962, Croatian-American sculptor, b. Vrpolje, Croatia (then in Austria-Hungary). He was a shepherd and then an apprentice to a marble cutter, and at 17 he begam attending the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. His figures and reliefs were strongly influenced by RodinRodin, Auguste
, 1840–1917, French sculptor, b. Paris. He began his art study at 14 in the Petite École and in the school of Antoine Barye, earning his living by working for an ornament maker. In 1863 he went to work for the architectural sculptor A. E.
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 and classical Greek sculpture, and his major works are usually austere and monolithic. Many of Mĕstrović's sculptures are of biblical scenes and other religious subjects, often in wood, bronze, or marble. He also portrayed figures out of Yugoslav history and folklore, and designed a number of churches and other structures. He lived in various European cities before immigrating (1947) to the United States, where he taught at Syracuse (1947–55) and Notre Dame (1955–62) universities, and became (1954) a U.S. citizen.
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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.