Art & Culture

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

Everything you need to know about the Lošinj Apoxyomenos
Art

Everything you need to know about the Lošinj Apoxyomenos

An ambitious clutch of spanking new museums has changed the face of Croatian tourism over the last few years; none, however, has been quite so talked about as the Museum of the Apoxyomenos in Mali Lošinj. Devoted to a single Greco-Roman statue of a handsome young athlete, the museum weaves a beguiling narrative around this uniquely charismatic piece of bronze, all presented in electrifying, state-of-the-art style. The Lošinj Apoxyomenos / © Mirna Pibernik, Time Out The name Apoxyomenos is an ancient Greek term meaning something like ‘The Scraper’, a reference to the habit of athletes of cleansing their skin with a scraping tool known as a strigil. The subject was a common one among classical sculptors, although only a handful of Hellenistic-era copies survive. There are Apoxyomenos statues in Rome, Vienna and Florence, although it’s the Lošinj Apoxyomenos that is considered the most perfect example of the genre yet found. Only the strigil is missing, leaving the statue in an ambiguous open-handed posture that if anything makes it even more compelling.  The discovery of the Apoxyomenos, cast into the Adriatic near Lošinj over 2000 years ago, is an object lesson in how it pays to keep your eyes peeled when exploring the sea bottom. The sponge- and barnacle-covered bronze hunk was first spotted by vacationing Belgian scuba-diver Rene Wouten in 1996; it look the authorities a further 3 years to bring it to the surface. The statue was sent to expert restoration departments in

Time Out Croatia presents British Music Film Week
Things to do

Time Out Croatia presents British Music Film Week

What could be better on a warm summer evening than escaping the heat of the concrete city streets and watching a movie surrounded by cooling trees and greenery, beneath a star-filled sky? This August, Time Out Croatia has partnered with Tuškanac Summer Stage to bring you a week of films which celebrate British music, which will allow you to do just that. The large, outdoor screen is one of the best summer experiences in the city and here you'll be able to take in the music of British favourites like The Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Queen and Elton John in the grandest of arenas. All films begin at 9pm and cost just 30 kuna. 

Six murals from this year's Graffiti Na Gradele festival on Brač island
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Six murals from this year's Graffiti Na Gradele festival on Brač island

The eighth annual Graffiti Na Gradele Festival took place over last weekend. The festival is a celebration of hip hop culture and is best known for the amazing street art or graffiti which it leaves on the walls around its host town of Bol, the southernmost major town on the island of Brač. This year, attendees were entertained by DJs and live performances from popular local hip hop acts such as Bad Copy, Krešo Bengalka and Vojko Vrućina plus High5 and Buntai. Artists travelled from across the region to attend the event and those who left their mark on Brač included Malakkai, Bulgarian artists Erase and Arsek, Serbian talent Star plus some of Croatia's well-known graffiti artists like Lunar, CHEZ 186, Sarme, Casino, Royal, Senkone, SMACK184 and Anxio. Although the festival's 2019 edition is now finished, visitors to Brač island can still go and check out the artworks left behind.Photographs of all works taken by Marko Lopac

19 amazing images from the current Salvador Dali exhibition
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19 amazing images from the current Salvador Dali exhibition

The most famous artist of the Surrealist movement is currently being exhibited at the Rector's Palace in Zadar. The exhibition, entitled Surreal Worlds of Salvador Dali, is the largest ever showcase of his work in Croatia and contains over 200 of Dalí's graphic sheets, sculptures, tapestries and reliefs plus other items of ceramics, glass and even Dali's famous sofa. Salvador Dalí was born in1904 in the town of Figueres, close to the French border, in Catalonia, Spain. He studied art in Madrid during the early 1920s where he earned a good early reputation for his work and for his unusual, Bohemian and out-of-time manner of dress. While studying in the city he also befriended peers such as writer Pepín Bello, the filmmaker Luis Buñuel and poet Federico García Lorca, even striking up an association with one of his idol's, Pablo Picasso, while visiting him in Paris. His early work took inspiration from classical painters like Raphael, Bronzino, Francisco de Zurbarán, Vermeer and Diego Velázquez, Dali even going so far as to grow a flamboyant moustache similar to the latter's. But, he was also inspired by more current and avant-garde modes of expression, such as the Dada and Cubist movements. Slowly, as his style began to become more fully formed, he would combine these influences under the banner of the new Surrealist movement. The Surrealist movement was centred in Paris during its formative years and Dali went to live in the city himself. Presided over by a self-appointed c

Rijeka street art 2019: Francisco de Pájar 'art is trash'
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Rijeka street art 2019: Francisco de Pájar 'art is trash'

Visitors to Rijeka can't fail to have noticed the explosion of street art adding colour and different perspectives to the urban environment of the Croatian city. In 2018, artists Lonac (Croatia), Isaac Cordal (Spain), Sebas Velasco (Spain) and Pejac (Spain) all contributed painted or sculpture works to the walls, windows and ledges around Rijeka at the invitation of Rijeka 2020 Capital of Culture organisers. Adding to this expression in 2019 has been another Spanish artist, Francisco de Pájaro, who was in residence there for a two-week period beginning on June 27. Francisco de Pájar makes sculptures from discarded items, the trash that businesses and individuals throw away, plus other detritus left on city streets. Using worn mattresses, empty boxes and food containers, old furniture and bin bags, he creates playful creations which find the beauty in the everyday items we throw away. His ongoing series of street art interventions is titled 'Art is Trash', a provocative title deliberately chosen by the artist. Francisco de Pájar's 'Art is Trash' series started life out of necessity. In 2009, de Pájar's hometown of Barcelona, like much of Europe, was in the grip of the economic crisis. Galleries were not interested in showing any of de Pájar's work and so, he took to the streets. Since that time, trash has become his sole medium of artistic expression. 'I think it's perfectly natural for my art to end up in landfills,' the artist told sections of his audience while in Ri

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

Croatian National Theatre • Rijeka
Theatre

Croatian National Theatre • Rijeka

Both an architectural and cultural landmark, Rijeka’s Croatian National Theatre was designed by the same team of architects as its namesakes in Split and Zagreb: Austrian Ferdinand Fellner and his German partner Hermann Helmer. In fact, the pair created dozens of theatres across Europe, from Odessa to Zürich, this one opened in 1885. Though Croatian-language performances here may be of limited interest, there’s also ballet and opera on the agenda, and the interior is worth a look around – Gustav Klimt and brother Ernst helped paint the ceiling before its grand unveiling, a performance of Verdi’s Aida.

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.

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.

Croatian National Theatre • Zagreb
Theatre

Croatian National Theatre • Zagreb

This neo-baroque landmark, opened by Habsburg Emperor Franz Josef in 1895, played a vital role in the establishment of a Croatian national identity. What you find today is a sumptuous interior – a suitably ornate backdrop for local-language theatre, congresses and promotional events.

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.

Natural History Museum • Rijeka
Museums

Natural History Museum • Rijeka

Behind the Governor’s Palace it overlooks, Rijeka‘s Natural History Museum established its large collection of specimens from the Kvarner Bay, Gorski Kotar and Istria, thanks to private collectors from the mid 19th century onwards. Key displays include one of sharks and rays, and a geological history of the Adriatic Sea.

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.