Discovering Naive Art in Croatia

One of my favourite museums in Zagreb is the Croatian Museum of Naive Art. Situated in the old town, close to St. Mark’s Church, this museum displays some of the finest works of naive art in Croatia.

Naive art is a simplistic art form characterized by its emphasis on detail, patterns and colours, but not so much on trained art technique. Traditionally the movement was started by untrained, self taught artists in the 18th century. Today of course many naive artists are art school graduates, but each continues to maintain the integrity of the art form.

Bee Keeper - Milan Generalić

The medium of choice is oil on glass, though acrylic paints and paper are also used. The subject matter is usually inspired by daily life. Therefore it is common to see scenes from village life and religious art dominating this style

Naive art may come across as very simple, almost childlike creations. At times it may seem too kitschy; a common pitfall associated with this art form. However, in the hands of a master even the simplest painting reveals layers and layers of detail and complexity.

Naive Art Gallery

The Croatian naive art movement got a tremendous push forward with the success of artists Krsto Hegedušić and his protégé Ivan Generalić. They dominated the art scene from the early 1930s. Their success locally, and in Europe, allowed younger talent to be discovered and encouraged. Today Croatian naive artists show their work across Europe and the America.

This post was featured on Roaming Tales Travel Links September 28 2009.

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