The Croatian Museum of Naive Art (Hrvatski muzej naivne umjetnosti in Croatian) is dedicated to “naive” artists and exhibits works in a figurative pictorial style that do not actually represent reality. The museum has a collection of more than 1850 pieces (paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints) dating from the 20th century. They are exhibited in the Raffay Palace in the upper part of Zagreb. The exhibition mainly features Croatian artists, but international representatives of this artistic movement are not forgotten.
The history of naive art in Croatia and the origins of the Museum of Naive Art
Traditionally, naive art represents the work of Croatian workers and farmers. These artworks are made by amateur artists, without any education or artistic training. Naive artists immerse the viewer in a poetic world and in a very particular graphic universe. They are closer to the other artistic movements of the 20th century because of their refusal to faithfully represent reality (perspectives, shapes, colors). They allow themselves to break away from academic painting, whether voluntarily or not.
In the early 1930s, the Croatian artists Ivan Generalić and Franjo Mraz made their mark and started the movement.
The museum claims to be the first naive art museum in the world and has existed since 1952. It was previously known as the Peasant Art Gallery, and was later named the Gallery of Primitive Art before taking its current name in 1994. Several renovations have made the museum accessible to a larger number of people. Several collections and regular events (exhibitions, workshops…) allow visitors to discover the great richness of the museum’s collections.
The museum’s collections
Less than a hundred of the museum’s works are on display. The palace doesn’t allow visitors to see all the collected works, even though it covers 350m2. Regular rotations and thematic exhibitions reveal unique works to the public in order to display more of them. These include drawings, paintings, and wood and stone sculptures. The museum also exhibits works from the famous Hlebine school of peasant painters.
Address: Sv. Ćirila i Metoda 3, Gornji grad
Price and opening hours: From 3 euuros. Open every day except Mondays and holidays.