Posted by: viewfromtheriva | September 6, 2009

Split’ s new Gallery of Art is a treasure

Although Diocletian’s Palace is the magnet that lures tourists to Split from all over the world, Croatia’s second largest city has many other world-class cultural attractions day-trippers to the Palace never realize are here.

In addition to the splendid City Museum, housed in the Papalic Palace;  the elegant Mestrovic Gallery in the sculptor’s villa overlooking the sea (a 10 minute ride on the #12 bus from the end of the Riva) and the Ethnographic Museum a few steps behind the Vestibul in the Palace proper;  the city’s new Gallery of Art on Tomislava, right near the main post office (behind the Palace to the left as you leave the Golden–or North Gate) fills a long-neglected niche for lovers of contemporary art as well as a showcase for important pieces from the medieval and Renaissance eras.

Opened in May, the new gallery is housed in a former hospital and arranged around a central courtyard on two floors.  Freshly restored with gleaming wood floors and spacious high-ceiling rooms, the gallery is light and inviting.  There’s a cafe on the ground floor and soon a museum gift shop which should be a great place to buy prints and other reproductions.

The sculpture, paintings, graphics and video installations are well displayed and range from the powerfully evocative to the whimsical (a video installation of a man reading a book encourages  you to press a button which sends a vicious electric shock to his head–he reacts as if struck by lightning and then as the current switches off, calmly resumes reading until he becomes the victim of the next unassuming gallery patron who pushes the button).

Vlaho Bukovac, Emanuel Vidović (there is a separate gallery of his work just as you enter the East Gate of the Palace, the Vidovic Gallery), Mestrovic and other seminal Croatian artists from the 19th and 20thC are also here.  Plus some wonderful work by painter Nina Ivančić and photographer Ana Opalić –just two more outstanding creative artists whose work you will enjoy.

After all of these modern delights, the museum space unfolds to an exquisite collection of medieval and Renaissance work mixed in with rare turn of the century pieces from the likes of Egon Shiele (1890-1918, regarded by many as the successor to Gustav Klimt).  And tucked into a corner there’s even an engraving by Albrecht Durer (1471-1528).

The Gallery is open daily and Saturday from 11-19 and Sundays 10-13. Admission is 20kn and students get in for 1/2 price.  A marvelous way to spend a morning or afternoon celebrating the vibrant art of Split!

Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll see:

Enjoy our new Croatian vacation portal

Read more about Croatia at secret dalmatia’s unique blog


  1. Sounds inviting!

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