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.
The best art galleries in Dubrovnik
Just a short walk away from the Old Town, the wonderful former Banac Mansion contains four floors and nine rooms of exhibition space, with a permanent collection that includes many works by Cavtat-born Vlaho Bukovac, alongside challenging contemporary shows. There is usually at least one major summer exhibition featuring a leading Croatian or international artist, and frequent contemporary-art happenings.
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.
While the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik focuses on the new and the global, its sister operation the DMP named after renowned modern artists concentrates on important figures from the last 200 years. The two-storey gallery owns more than 2,200 pieces but only a fraction are on show. On the top floor, the most important artist is well represented: Vlaho Bukovac. His landscapes are of value but it's his portraits that shine, often with a definite melancholic, contemplative edge. Pieces by contemporary local artists, brasher and brighter, are downstairs.
This little gallery puts on regular exhibitions by local artists, as well as art workshops. The gift shop sells tasteful souvenirs, jewellery and albums related to Dubrovnik. Look out for books by Italian cartoonist Osvaldo Cavandolli. His drawings found inspiration in Dubrovnik thanks to gallery owner Tea Batinić, who invited him here a few years ago. The result was 'Dubrovnik', 35 stories written by Batinić, illustrated by Cavandolli.
A few steps above restaurant-crammed Prijeko is this small photography gallery, hosting themed exhibitions over the summer and selling prints by leading Croatian photographers in a variety of sizes. The gallery owner hails from the Carmel in California, a town long associated with photography (both Edward Weston and Ansel Adams had studios there in their day). The gallery also sells jewelry manufactured by the nearby Atelier Secret.