Zagreb: The Enchantment Continues
Saturday, May 11, 2019
On our second and final full day in Zagreb, we awoke to soft morning sunlight and the sound of a school choir in the nearby square. Arnie went out to get photos of the market, which featured every fresh food imaginable. Between the stands, Roma people offered their wares -– clothing and other dried goods – quickly gathering up their merchandise and disappearing whenever anyone official-looking wandered by. (You can click on the photos in these galleries to see them in a larger format.)
We then set out with Ksenija for a wander through the lovely streets of Zagreb, indulging in some window shopping (if I’d started taking photos of the clothing and shoe store windows, much less looked inside the shops, we’d never have reached the museum), and again enjoying the range of building designs and styles in both the older and newer parts of the city. I loved the elegant, rounded corners featured on so many of the buildings.
Our primary destination for the day was the Museum of Arts and Crafts (our choice, one of several galleries and museums Ksenija offered as options), which is right across the street from the magnificent Croatian National Theatre, where opera and ballet are regularly performed. The Theatre is situated in Marshal Tito Square, which also features the Well of Life sculpture by Ivan Meštrović (1912) and a powerful representation of St. George and the Dragon by Anton Dominic Fernkorn (1907, the second George we’d seen in Zagreb. I found a lovely article entitled “A Dragon Slayer, Three Statues and A Secretive Society in the Centre of Zagreb” while I was checking out the details for this post.)
The Museum of Arts and Crafts, founded in 1880, could be the focus of a several-day visit to Zagreb all on its own. “Drawing on the theoretical precepts of the Arts & Crafts movement in England and the intellectual postulates of Gottfried Sember,” its website says, “the Museum was devised with the intention of creating a collection of models for master craftsmen and artists to reinvigorate the production of everyday use items. The strategy of the Museum’s activity was directed to the preservation of traditional values of the crafts of the people, but also to the creation of a new aesthetic culture of the middle class.
“Today the Museum has at its disposal holdings containing about one hundred thousand items of the fine and applied arts, drawn from the period from the 14th to the 21st century, organised into a number of collections: furniture, glass, metal, ceramics, sculpture, painting, graphic art, clocks and watches, graphic and product design, architecture, photography (one of the oldest such collections in the world) and photographic equipment, fabric and fashion, musical instruments, painted leather, ivory, printing and bookbinding.”
Needless to say, we merely scratched the surface! I was pleased to learn, thanks to one of my Facebook friends (thank you Jf Pickersgill! Who knew what Google could do?), that one can do a virtual tour of the Museum. I highly recommend it. In fact, I think I will do one myself because I missed so much when I was there in person, and I would like to re-view many of the items I did see. Here’s a very very small sample of items that caught my eye.
We finished the day off in style with a very fashionably late lunch at Vinodol. The food was beyond description, so I won’t bother to try. I had the chicken and I may have had the “Pavlova with Strawberries in a Glass” for dessert. In fact, I am certain that I did. One of many rationalizations on our trip that had to do with how far I’d walked that day.
After our lunch, we went back to the apartment and had a lovely quiet evening with our inimitable host, and with great regret and many promises to return, we packed for our morning departure. Padua, back in Italy, was our next destination. There would be adventures along the way.