Art & Culture

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

Croatia's first boat cinema sets sail from Vukovar
News

Croatia's first boat cinema sets sail from Vukovar

While residents of the Croatian capital, Zagreb, are being courted by the return of drive-in cinemas, film fans in the east of Croatia have an altogether different offer enticing them back to the flicks. This weekend will see the first boat cinema set out on the Danube river in Vukovar. Johann Strauss II's 'The Blue Danube (An der schönen, blauen Donau)', as famously used in Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' More of a sail-in than a drive-in, the Magenta 1, run by Danubiumtours, will set off from the shores of the town at 9pm every Friday and Saturday to offer the unique cinema-going experience. Their boat is powered by solar panels and so its quiet, electric motor will not disturb the wild surroundings while en route nor the film during screening. Every Friday is so far reserved for documentary films, with the opening edition set to show a film about The Beatles. Saturdays will be for feature films, with the Oscar-winning Korean film 'Parasite' lined up for this first week. The town is well known for attracting film fans to the Danube as it already hosts the well-attended Vukovar Film Festival.

VIDEO: Croatia's rich cultural offer

VIDEO: Croatia's rich cultural offer

From well-preserved Roman remains in Pula and Split and the grandiose Hapsburg architecture of Zagreb and Rijeka to the traditional lace makers of Pag and the folklore societies of continental regions, Croatia is a country with culture that can often leave you breathless. You can catch a glimpse of some highlights in the latest video in a series from the Croatian National Tourist Board.The team at #Croatiafulloflife launched a new campaign in late April 2020 inviting you to welcome Croatia into your homes. The videos show some of the country's most-appealing aspects and are intended to inspire future visitors at a time when they themselves cannot currently receive Croatia's famous welcome. The first video in the #CroatiaLongDistanceLove campaign has already received 1.5 million views with the second, showcasing the country's nature and natural assets, released just last week. Take a look at this latest video, which focusses on the country's diverse, fascinating and visually exciting culture.  

LADO: a people's history

LADO: a people's history

When dancers from the professional Slovakian folk art ensemble Sl'uk hit the stage of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb last September, not all of the comfortably-seated audience could have known what was in store for them. Renowned for their acrobatic and zealous performances, the Slovaks wheeled through the air, mirroring the celebratory movements practised by their forebears at joyous social gatherings in years gone by.    © LADO   Such a wild and physical show stood in sharp contrast to the pristine and subtly-executed ballet and bombastically-accentuated opera usually found on this grandest of Croatian stages. It also stood in contrast to their partners of the evening, LADO, the Croatian National Folk Dance Association, whose own introduction to the stage saw them slowly mimic the toil of agricultural workers accompanied by a heartfelt chant of multiple harmonies. Comparatively, this wasn't the most explosive or dramatic of entrances to have happened on this stage. But, that is not what LADO is about. When the members of LADO take the stage, they are not the supernatural figures of ballet nor the overwrought characters of opera. They are you. They are us. They are the people of Croatia and their ancestors, their performances offering an honest insight into the everyday lives, festivities and diverse, enduring traditions of past centuries.   © LADO   The style of dance on display that September evening was not the only aspect separating Croatia's LADO from their

Karlovac comes alive with colourful new murals
News

Karlovac comes alive with colourful new murals

The city of Karlovac has come alive with the installation of the latest in a string of colourful new murals. This latest mural, by artist Leonard Lesić, can be seen on the side of the city's Hrvatski dom building. It marks the start of a bold new redesign and repurposing of the formerly neglected building.   © Leonard Lesić   The artwork was commissioned via competition by KAoperativa Alliance, a network of NGOs from Karlovac who are collaborating to renovate the building. Originally built in 1926 and a centre for arts, recreation, culture and community. It now requires some work intended to return the building to its original purpose.   Architects design of how the completed Hrvatski dom Karlovac and its urban park will look once complete © Anamarija Popovački, Nikolina Delić, Luka Krmpotić, Luka Lipšinić, Iva Žaja   Around 20 artists submitted designs for the wall, with the jury choosing one by Leonard Lesić, who is from nearby Duga Resa, as the winner. His mural measures 28 metres by 4 metres. The mural sits above an open space which is about to undergo landscaping which will turn it into an urban park. In warmer months, the park will be used for exhibitions, workshops, performances and community activities.   Leonard Lesić mural in Duga Resa © Leonard Lesić   'I chose to make the mural using bright colours, so they would contrast with the surroundings,' artist Leonard Lesić told Time Out Croatia. 'There's quite a lot of greenery and nature near the building. Also be

PHOTOS: Highlights of Rovinj Photodays 2020

PHOTOS: Highlights of Rovinj Photodays 2020

Having now reached 13 years of age, Rovinj Photodays has established itself as one of Croatia's key annual happenings for photography. As it should be, for the festival is the largest and most comprehensive event of its kind in Southeast Europe. The festival is currently taking place. Both winners and runners-up in all categories have been announced. But, acting under advisement, the event has only made itself available to the public online. We present here some of the highlights.   Winner in Portrait category 2020© Patrick Bienert     Winner in Documentary category 2020© Alessio Paduano     Second place in Documentary category 2020© Nik Erik Neubauer     Winner in Fashion category 2020© Patrick Bienert   The festival was founded in 2008 and entries for its competition aspect are submitted from all over the world. This year, a total of 2600 photographs by authors from 18 countries were put forward for consideration. Among the finalists were two photographers each from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Russia and Serbia. Photographers from the Netherlands, Germany and Slovenia also reached the final.   Winner in Architecture category 2020© Fadil Šarki     Winner in Portrait category 2020© Patrick Bienert     Second place in Architecture category 2020© Ivana Jagušić     Winner in Portrait category 2020© Patrick Bienert   2020's competition categories were: Nudy/Body, Architecture, Fashion, Documentary, Landscape and Portrait. The work of successful finalis

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.