Meštrović Pavilion (Croatian: Meštrovićev paviljon), also
known as the Home of Croatian Artists and colloquially as džamija,
Croatian for "mosque", is a cultural venue and the official seat of
the Croatian Association of Artists (HDLU) located on the Square of
the Victims of Fascism (Trg žrtava fašizma) in central Zagreb,
Croatia. Designed by
Ivan Meštrović and built in 1938, it has served
several functions in its lifetime. An art gallery before World War II,
it was converted into a mosque under the Independent State of Croatia
and was subsequently transformed into the Museum of the Revolution in
post-war Yugoslavia. In 1990, it was given back to the Croatian
Association of Artists. After extensive renovation, it has served as a
space for exhibitions and events since 2006.
1.2 Original construction and layout
1.4 The Museum of the Revolution
1.5 Restoration and renovation
Meštrović Pavilion today
5 Further reading
6 External links
In the early 1930s, the Croatian
Art Society Josip Juraj Strossmayer
was seeking a new exhibition space. At that time, sculptor Ivan
Meštrović, then the president of
Art Society Strossmayer, was given
the task to create a sculpture in honor of King Peter I for the Square
of King Peter (Trg kralja Petra) in Zagreb.
Recognizing an opportunity to combine these two needs, Meštrović
suggested that instead of a single sculpture, an entire building be
erected on the square. After some negotiation, Meštrović’s
proposal was accepted and an endowment for the construction of the
House of Fine Arts of King Petar the Great Emancipator was established
Original construction and layout
Aerial view from the south-east
Meštrović designed the preliminary concept for the building in 1933.
Architects Ladislav Horvat and Harold Bilinić, who frequently
collaborated with Meštrović, drew up detailed plans based on
Meštrović’s conceptual design. The resulting building was one
of the first round exhibition halls in the region.
The interior was designed to accommodate three categories of art:
sculpture, painting, and photography/works on paper. The main entrance
of the pavilion opens into a vestibule flanked on either side by
staircases. Directly ahead is the central exhibition hall, a
cylindrical space designed for exhibiting sculpture. Above the
entrance to this space is a relief of King Petar I by Ivan
Meštrović. The staircases lead to a circular exhibition hall. A
smaller, concentric exhibition hall opens into the cylindrical space
and offers views of the gallery below.
The dome of the pavilion, planned by architect Zvonimir Kavurić, is
composed of round glass tiles 57 mm (2.24 in) thick and 125 mm (4.92
in) in diameter, set into a concrete shell with a thickness of 57 mm
(2.24 in), allowing natural light to fill the exhibition halls.
The Arts Hall opened on December 1, 1938 with A Half Century of
Croatian Art, a major retrospective exhibition.
The pavilion functioned as an art gallery for only three years before
it was turned into a mosque in 1941, at the beginning of World War II.
Architect Zvonimir Požgaj headed the project for adapting the
interior of the pavilion to better suit the functions of a mosque, and
Stjepan Planić designed the exterior of the mosque. Požgaj
significantly altered the interior of the pavilion, introducing a new
ceiling of iron and concrete underneath the original ceiling to solve
the problem of temperature and acoustics. According to Planić's
plans, three minarets measuring 45 m (147.6 ft) in height were placed
around the pavilion, but the exterior of the building was not
altered.. Planić also added a fountain flanked by benches in front
of the building’s main entrance. The interior of the mosque was
decorated with stucco patterns based on early Croatian ribbon motifs
created by the sculptors Botuhinski, Brill, Ivanković, Jean, Loboda,
Lozica, Matijević, Papić, Penić, Perić, Radauš, Štigler, and
The mosque functioned until 1945. In 1949, the minarets were
demolished and the interior decor was removed to make way for the new
Museum of the Revolution.
The Museum of the Revolution
Vjenceslav Richter headed the project to design the Museum
of the Revolution, which was to display documents pertaining to
Partisan battles during World War II. Richter added an additional
floor and new staircases to the interior space and constructed new
walls to hide its circular form. All of Richter’s additions were
designed to attach to the original structure, so that they could be
removed without harming the building’s interior. The Museum of
the Revolution officially opened on April 15, 1955.
Restoration and renovation
By the mid-1980s, discussions about the function of the pavilion had
resumed, and in 1988, the curators of the Museum of the Revolution
invited architects Ivan Crnković and Dubravnka Kisić to draw up a
study on the feasibility of restoring the pavilion to its original
form. In May 1990, the Croatian Association of Artists (HDLU), headed
by Ante Rašić, organized the exhibition Dokumenti-Argumenti to
present the history of the building. In 1993, the City Council of
Zagreb granted permission to the Croatian Association of Artists to
move their seat back to the pavilion.
Renovation of the pavilion began in 2001 according to the plans of
architect Andrija Mutnjaković. The first phase of construction
included the removal of all non-original layers and structures and was
completed in 2003. In 2006, parts of the cellar and ground floor were
renovated following the plans of architect Branko Silađin.
Meštrović Pavilion today
The pavilion presently serves as the official seat of the Croatian
Association of Artists (HDLU), a union of professional artists
established in 1868. The aims of the association are to support and
encourage contemporary visual expression, to improve and protect the
freedom of visual expression, and to influence legislation regulating
visual arts production and the social rights of artists.
Additionally, HDLU organizes over 40 exhibitions and events annually,
held in the pavilion’s three exhibition spaces: the Ring Gallery,
the Barrel Gallery, and the Extended Media (PM) Gallery. A fourth
exhibition space, Karas Gallery, is located on Praška Street near Ban
The pavilion is also one of the founding members of The 360° Project,
an international network of round arts venues in
Europe and Canada.
^ Mutnjaković 2011, pp. 73-74.
^ Mutnjaković 2011, p. 74.
^ Mutnjaković 2011, p. 78.
^ a b c Pavičić, Snježana. "Dom Hdlu". hdlu.hr (in Croatian).
Croatian Association of Artists. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
^ Creative Circle. Croatian Association of Artists. 2012.
p. 43. [full citation needed]
^ Mutnjaković 2011, p. 86.
^ Creative Circle 2012, p. 47.
^ Mutnjaković 2011, p. 87.
^ Mutnjaković 2011, p. 88.
^ Mutnjaković 2011, p. 98.
^ Mutnjaković 2011, p. 97.
^ "Povijest zgrade" [History of the Building] (in Croatian). Croatian
Association of Artists. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
^ "About Us". Croatian Association of Artists. Retrieved 11 March
Mutnjaković, Andrija (December 2011). "Arts Hall by Ivan Meštrović:
Construction, Destruction, and Renewal".
Art Bulletin. Zagreb:
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. 61: 67–110. Retrieved 11
Ivančević, Radovan. "Kružna forma u opusu Ivana Meštrovića"
(PDF). Život umjetnosti (in Croatian) (43/44): 46–75. Retrieved 21
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