Art & Culture

Your essential guide to galleries, museums and the performing arts in Croatia

International Animation Day
Film

International Animation Day

The seventeenth annual International Animation Day will be celebrated over a whole weekend here in Zagreb. Tuškanac cinema will play host to the event, screening animation shorts and films from 10am until 10pm, enabling younger guests to visit in the daytime and those older to stay up for a little longer. Along with projections of animated films, there will be fun workshops for kids and organisers will talk to some filmmakers whose work is included in the presentations. There will also be an exhibition and a music listening section.

Croatia Q&A: What is picigin?
Travel

Croatia Q&A: What is picigin?

For most visitors, Split's city beach of Bačvice is a modest affair - a half-moon of shinglysand a short walk from the main harbour, a couple of showers, a little greenery andshallow sea that's just right for children. But to locals, Bačvice is Wembley, the home andtemple of the city's best-loved sport: picigin. As much an art form as a sport, picigin is something like volleyball in shallow water, butwith a much smaller ball, no net and usually no points. Here it is played according to the classic rules: five players and a bald tennis ball, or balun. Traditionally non-competitive,the aim of the game is to keep the ball out of the water for as long as possible. To this end,players bat it between each other with the palm of either hand. The artistry comes inkeeping the ball dry. A dazzling leap or dive to keep the balun on its journey should scorewell - if scores are being kept. Bačvice makes a perfect picigin pitch for two main reasons. Firstly its sandy, gentlysloping beach allows for optimum acrobatic performance while minimising the risk ofinjury. Ideally, for speed and a cushioned fall, the water should be just above the ankles andwell below the knees. Just as importantly, the beach is lined with a number of bars andcafés, so that players can strut their stuff to a relaxed and appreciative audience - in otherwords, females. No more peacock sport was ever invented. Non-competitive its origins may be but picigin is being taken increasingly seriously byits aficionados. Ass

25 FPS
Film

25 FPS

‘FPS’ stands for ‘Frames Per Second’, and this four-day festival in Zagreb features independent and non-commercial films of an experimental or avant-guard nature. This is the festiva's 14th annual occurrence in Zagreb and film and video entries have been submitted by a host of international filmmakers. On each day, exhibitions and competition entries can be viewed in the lobby area of the Student Centre's cinema with the cinema itself being used throughout the days and evenings for screenings. An attached performance programme occurrs in the evenings at Theatre &TD, which also hosts an afterparty on each night. A festival closing performance comes from reknowned experimental musician William Basinski on Sunday, taking place in the beautiful French Pavillion. 

20 vibrant pieces of street art to see in Zagreb
News

20 vibrant pieces of street art to see in Zagreb

Zagreb is no stranger to graffiti, from its downtown walls covered in rashes of swirling name-tags to bright and beautiful murals that add flourishes of colour to the city. Here are just a few examples of spectacular urban art in the capital. A post shared by Street Art Infinity (@streetartinfinity) on Mar 11, 2018 at 12:46pm PDT   Gallery SC A post shared by Stephanie O'Brien (@stephanieob) on Jun 18, 2018 at 11:42am PDT   Tkalčićeva street A post shared by Daniel Janev (@danijanev) on Dec 10, 2017 at 1:13am PST   Đorđićeva street A post shared by Flor (@7lorr3) on Aug 16, 2018 at 12:33pm PDT   Opatovina A post shared by Stephanie O'Brien (@stephanieob) on May 7, 2018 at 11:57am PDT   near The Westin Zagreb hotel A post shared by Stephanie O'Brien (@stephanieob) on May 14, 2018 at 1:14pm PDT   Ćirilometodska street A post shared by b. (@shineeye_b) on Aug 18, 2018 at 2:17am PDT    Art Park A post shared by Thor A Very Coolbird (@thor_theverycoolbird) on Aug 10, 2018 at 12:07pm PDT   Museum of Contemporary Art A post shared by Thor A Very Coolbi

A view from Croatia: Tomislav Marcijuš
Art

A view from Croatia: Tomislav Marcijuš

Tomislav Marcijuš is a photographer from Osijek. He is best known for his day job, photographer at Marcijuš Weddings, for which he travels the country. But his interest in photography extends further than happy couples and their special day. He is also the founder of the wonderful Osijek Postcards project and has managed to maintain his enthusiasm for photography to the extent that it remains a hobby as well as his full time job. Tomislav Marcijuš's personal photos could not be more different from his wedding photos.'For me, living in eastern Europe can bring an everyday feeling of nostalgia and melancholy,' says Marcijuš, who acknowledges Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky as one of his main inspirations. 'My photos couldn’t have avoided it and my surroundings are what inspire me the most. My personal projects show a different world, the environment in which I grew up and in which I live, a space that can seem empty and uninteresting.' But Tomislav's shots are far from uninteresting. He photographs Communist-era architecture, framing the brutal buildings in a realistic and sometimes beautiful light. Similarly, he takes photographs of people existing naturally, unposed, in their everyday environment. His use of an analog camera and 35mm film adds to the timeless quality of his work. Looking at Tomislav's personal photographs, you can often imagine that you are seeing something captured 40 years ago; a past that, in this region, still seems to exist today.RECOMMENDED: See the

The best of Croatia

Zagreb gallery guide
Art

Zagreb gallery guide

Zagreb’s many galleries come in many guises – passionate independent venues rub shoulders with venerable institutions. Consider this your essential Zagreb gallery guide.

Dubrovnik art gallery guide
Art

Dubrovnik art gallery guide

Dubrovnik is not all about luxury hotels and destination restaurants. Step inside our Dubrovnik art gallery guide to discover where to catch some of Croatia's best modern and contemporary art, and coolest exhibition programmes.

Essential Dubrovnik attractions
Things to do

Essential Dubrovnik attractions

Dubrovnik's glittering past as the Republic of Ragusa means it has several stand-out sights of great historic interest, which combine with its scattering of museums and galleries. Fascinating landmarks dot the Old Town an easy stroll from each other, perfect for a day's sightseeing. Consider this your Dubrovnik attractions bucket list.

The best Split museums and galleries
Art

The best Split museums and galleries

A bustling hub in Roman times, Split – which is built around an old Roman palace – is full of unique historic and artistic treasures. Split attractions include a number of museums and galleries that make the city a fascinating destination for art aficionados, historians and sightseers alike. Here's where to head.

Croatia’s top venues for art and exhibitions

Museum of Contemporary Art • Zagreb
Museums

Museum of Contemporary Art • Zagreb

Costing some €60 million and covering 14,500 square metres, the MCA – MSU in Croatian – is the most significant museum to open in Zagreb for more than a century. Its collection includes pieces from the 1920s and gathered since 1954 when Zagreb's original MCA (in Upper Town) was founded. Of particular note are Carsten Höller's slides, similar to the 'Test Site' installation he built for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall but custom-made and site specific for Zagreb – pieces of art patrons can ride to the parking lot. Croatia's outstanding 1950s generation of abstract-geometric artists (Ivan Picelj, Aleksandar Srnec, Vjenceslav Richter, Vlado Kristl) play a starring role in the collection, alongside photographs and films documenting the more outlandish antics of legendary performance artists like Tom Gotovac and Vlasta Delimar. The new-media and computer-art works produced by the Zagreb-based New Tendencies movement in the late '60s and early 70s reveals just how ahead-of-its-time much of Croatian art really was.

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Moderna Galerija • Zagreb
Art

Moderna Galerija • Zagreb

Housed in the impressively renovated Vraniczany palace on Zrinjevac, the Modern Gallery is home to the national collection of 19th- and 20th-century art. It kicks off in spectacular fashion with huge canvases by late-19th-century painters Vlaho Bukovac and Celestin Medović dominating the sublimely proportioned hexagonal entrance hall. From here the collection works its way chronologically through the history of Croatian painting, taking in Ljubo Babić's entrancing 1920s landscapes and Edo Murtić's jazzy exercises in 1950's abstract art. Several contemporary artists are featured here too - sufficient to whet your appetite before hopping over the river to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see some more. The Moderna Galerija's most innovative feature is the tactile gallery, a room containing versions of famous paintings in relief form (together with Braille captions) for unsighted visitors to explore.

Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art • Rijeka
Art

Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art • Rijeka

Founded in 1948, Rijeka’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Muzej moderne i suvremene umjetnosti or MMSU) has long enjoyed a reputation for holding some of the most exciting contemporary art exhibitions in the country. It is also the host of the Biennial of the Quadrilateral, a contemporary art show featuring artists from Croatia, Italy, Slovenia and Hungary – a quartet of countries that has had a profound effect on the history of Rijeka. Works from the museum’s large permanent collection are rarely seen save during occasional themed exhibitions – the museum’s current home, in the same building as the Rijeka municipal library, is too limited to host more than the (albeit excellent) temporary exhibitions. The MMSU has been promised a new home in the Rikard Benčić palace, built to serve as the HQ of a sugar refinery in 1752 and currently awaiting long-discussed restoration. The completion date lies some way in the future, although the project will help to confirm the MMSU’s status as an increasingly major player in the Central-European art scene. Over the past few years the MMSU has been run by a string of directors who have also been big-hitting curators – a trend that seems set to continue with the arrival of new chief Slaven Tolj (former head of the Lazareti Art Workshop in Dubrovnik).

Museum of Arts & Crafts • Zagreb
Museums

Museum of Arts & Crafts • Zagreb

This grand Hermann Bollé-designed palace, founded in 1880, was originally based on 'a collection of samples for master craftsmen and artists who need to re-improve production of items of everyday use'. It has now grown to become the country's premier collection of applied art, with a wide-ranging gaggle of pieces from Baroque altar pieces to Biedermeier furniture, domestic ceramics, clocks and contemporary poster design. A side room full of synagogue silverware and ritual candlesticks recalls the rich heritage of Zagreb's pre-World War II Jewish community. On the top floor, a collection of 19th-20th century ball gowns and evening dresses provides a strong whiff of glamour. The museum is also a major venue for temporary exhibitions with big themes, with the photographs of Rene Magritte and the history of Croatian Art Deco drawing recent crowds.

More cultural venues in Croatia

Croatian Association of Artists • Zagreb
Art

Croatian Association of Artists • Zagreb

Visit for the building alone, a circular pavilion standing in the middle of Victims of Fascism Square a ten-minute walk south-east of the main square. The building was designed by sculptor Ivan Meštrović just before World War II as an exhibition space in honour of the then Yugoslav King Peter I. Inside, the circular walls contain three galleries, which span two floors and provide an outstanding venue for a dynamic program of contemporary art exhibitions and events organized by the Croatian Association of Artists (HDLU). The circular central hall features natural light through the cupola.

Dubrovnik Contemporary Gallery
Art

Dubrovnik Contemporary Gallery

When you tire of all of the “I love Dubrovnik” t-shirts and refrigerator magnets, take a 10-minute stroll from the city walls to the Dubrovnik Contemporary Gallery, on the left-hand side of the road that leads to the Excelsior Hotel. This little gem features striking contemporary paintings by Croatian-American artist Selma Hafizovic Muller, who also exhibits in many galleries in New York. Her work is colourful, edgy: a welcome change from all the traditional landscapes, harbour scenes and sunsets.

Croatian National Theatre • Split
Theatre

Croatian National Theatre • Split

As in Zagreb, the National Theatre in Split played a vital role in the promotion of the Croatian language while the country was still ruled from elsewhere. This venerable institution opened in 1893, first at Dobroma, before this imposing edifice was built decades later. Early performances featured troupes from Italy while a local theatrical culture developed. Today the HNK not only stages Croatian-language theatre, but also foreigner-friendly opera and ballet. It's a major venue during the Split Summer Festival.

City Museum • Rijeka
Museums

City Museum • Rijeka

Set in a pavilion alongside the Governor's Palace – and thus alongside the History & Maritime Museum, making it a convenient first port of call for any first-time visitor to Rijeka – the two-floor City Museum comprises a modest permanent exhibition but stages a number of fascinating temporary ones. Recent subjects have included the development of the torpedo, the history of Rijeka harbour, and emigration from Central Europe to America 1880-1914.

Lauba House • Zagreb
Art

Lauba House • Zagreb

Lurking mysteriously in a little-visited area 4km west of the centre is this brand-new private art gallery, occupying a century-old barrack block painted in alluring matt black by modern restorers. Displaying the collection of businessman Tomislav Kličko, Lauba includes major works by virtually everyone who is anyone in Croatian art from about 1950 onwards. If you've already visited the Museum of Contemporary Art, then Lauba will provide you with a refreshingly alternative take on the local art establishment, concentrating on visually appealing works as well as more conceptual exercises. Figurative paintings by Lovro Artuković and disarmingly bling sculptures by Kristian Kožul are among the highlights.