Ulica kralja Tomislava 15
The Art Gallery was founded in 1931, and has recently been located in the Old Hospital not far from the northern walls of Diocletian's Palace in Split, inside the Bastion of Cornar. Among the permanent exhibition are paintings and sculptures from the 14th century to modern times. The works of Andrija Aleši and Juraj Ćulinović from the 15th century, Andrija Medulić from the 16th century, Matej Pončun and Federik Benković from the century and paintings by Venetian masters of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque stand out. Also, the gallery exhibits valuable icons from the period 15-19. century. The most numerous are the works of important Croatian artists Bukovac, Dešković, Job, Medović, Meštrović and Vidović.
In 1908, the first Dalmatian art exhibition of modern art was held in the then Austro-Hungarian city of Split. The event was attended by just over 10,000 visitors and was a major event for the then relatively small provincial town, which at the time had just over 20,000 inhabitants. The art exhibition engaged many local artists and was the starting point for the establishment of the city's first art gallery. The foundations of the future art museum's collections were initially added through private donations, not least from the then mayor of Split, Ivo Tartaglia (1880–1949). Over the next 20 years the collection grew and in 1928 the Art Gallery was formally established. However, it was not until December 1, 1931 that it opened to the public.
The museum was initially housed in a building at the street address Lovretska ulica and at the opening the collections consisted of 500 works of art of which 300 were shown in the exhibitions. The number of works of art in the collections continued to grow, and soon there was a need for a new museum building. In 2009, the Art Gallery moved into the current building after it had been adapted to the museum's needs.
Collections and exhibitions
The art museum's collections include more than 5,200 objects, of which nearly 400 objects are displayed on an exhibition area of 2,200 square meters. The exhibition begins on the first floor of the museum with works by the Old Masters (15th–19th centuries) and continues with anthological works by masters of Croatian Modernism (1900–1950s). The second half of the 20th century is represented by works from high modernism (1950s–1970s), which includes the Croatian internationally recognized abstract art production. The ground floor displays indigenous and local contemporary art (1960s–present).
In addition to the photo, film and video collection, the museum has another five (described below) collections.
The Old Masters Collection
The collection of the old masters forms an important part of the museum's holdings in terms of the number of works of art as well as their diversity and quality. The collection includes works of art from the 14th–18th centuries and paintings by both domestic and foreign artists, including Paolo Veneziano, Andrea Alessi, Juraj Čulinović, Girolamo Brusaferro, Matteo Ponzone and Federico Bencovich. The collection's most interesting artworks include the engraving Melencolia by Albrecht Dürer and the painting Allegory of the Four Seasons by Peter Brandl.
The icon collection
The Art Museum's collection of icons is one of the most extensive of its kind in Croatia. The collection includes Cretan-Venetian icons, icons from the Bay of Kotor, Russia and the Greek mainland that stylistically represent both the Cretan school and the Ionian school. The icon collection has been added through years of acquisition and a large part of the icons comes from the private collection of former mayor Ivo Tartaglia. Most of the icons are small or medium in size indicating that they were originally used for private devotion.
The collection of modern art
The collection of modern art includes works (including paintings and sculptures) from the 19th century to the year 1950. The collection includes particularly valuable and ground-breaking works by some of the best Croatian artists. The stylistic changes that occurred during the period from the 19th century to the second half of the 20th century (from Classicism and Biedermeier to Romanticism and Realism) are reflected, among others, in the works of the domestic artists Juraj Pavlović, Ivan Skvarčina, Ivan Rendić, Vlaho Bukovac, Ivan Meštrović, Emanuel Vidović and Mato Celestin Medović. The collection also includes works by the foreign artists Egon Schiele and George Grosz.
The collection of contemporary art
The collection of contemporary art includes works from the year 1950 to the present. It mostly contains works of art produced in various types of media. Through the collection's artwork, the development of the artistic tendencies during the period from the 1950s onwards is reflected. The collection includes works by local artists Ivan Picelj, Julije Knifer, Goran Petercol, Ivan Faktor, Dalibor Martinis, Boris Bućan, Dubravka Rakoci and Edita Schubert.
The design and poster collection
The design and poster collection contains artworks produced from the 1930s to the present day. Thematically, the collection mostly consists of exhibition and theater posters. These works not only have an artistic value, but are also a documentation of local cultural events that took place in Split from the 20th century to the present day.
The museum building
The art gallery is located in a building called "Stara bolnica" (Old Hospital). The building was erected in 1792 according to drawings by the architect Petar Kurir and was the city's first municipal hospital. In 1872, the property was expanded and it then received its current exterior design, which bears stylistic features from the Neo-Renaissance. In connection with the extension, which was made according to drawings by the architect Josip Slade, the south wing and the building's central atrium with veranda were added. In the late 1970s, the building was adapted according to drawings by the architect Vuko Bombardelli to accommodate the "Muzej narodne revolucije" (Museum of the People's Revolution), which was closed in 1991. Since 1996, the building has housed the Art Gallery and the Multimedia Culture Center. In the years 2004–2009, the building was reconstructed, expanded and further adapted to meet the needs of the Art Museum. Despite the many changes, the building is a valuable example of 19th century architecture and it plays an important role in Split's history as the city's first hospital.