Ivan Meštrović, Caryatid, 1908, Jesus and Mary Magdalene, 1916

Ivan Meštrović
(1883 – 1962)
Caryatid, 1908
74 x 19 x 13 cm

Jesus and Mary Magdalene, 1916
176 x 133.8 cm

Ivan Meštrović, one of our greatest sculptors, was formed in the early 20th century, in the spirit of his time and Secession as a stylistic trend. In line with the postulates of Modern art, he made use of the archaic form and wood as the material in which he shaped the Caryatid with “constructive architectonics”, depicted as a standing female nude with the pronounced vertical of the linear drapery slung over the forearm of her left arm, which is raised and bent, and her oval head is bowed. Her right arm hangs loosely alongside the body and is crooked backwards at waist height. The stylized lines soften the compact composition. The wood has a polished texture, the contour lines flow fluidly while light delicately accentuates the surface extrusions.

After Ivan Meštrović finished working on his national cycle, the sculptor increasingly turned to universal religious motifs. The series of Christological wooden reliefs includes the scene of Jesus and Mary Magdalene executed in shallow relief with expressive flatness and linearity of Gothic figures and an emphasis on the elongated arms of the main protagonists of the scene. The central scene of the seated Christ and the kneeling Mary Magdalene is punctuated by the horizontal figural composition in the background. The artistry and expressiveness of the composition carved onto a wooden panel was achieved with flawless linear stylisation.

Text: Tatijana Gareljić, Museum advisor of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb


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