Ivan Meštrović, Angel with a Flute, 1918

Ivan Meštrović
(1883 – 1962)
Angel with a Flute, 1918
bronze, 135 x 36 x 14 cm

He is the greatest Croatian modern sculptor, educated in the atmosphere of the Vienna Secession and its most prominent representative in the medium of sculpture. The artistic value of Meštrović’s monumental, religious and intimate works is universal. His Secession morphology continues, develops and becomes increasingly more subtle and refined at the end of the second decade of the twentieth century when, in addition to religious subject-matter, he develops musical themes translated into melodic forms of reduced anatomy and subtle linearity, such as the elegant curved figures of women with stringed instruments, which he increasingly minimizes, almost reducing them to a disembodied mass with elegantly entwined hands picking at non-existing instruments.

The sculpture Angel with a Flute, presented as a nude young man with a tender physiognomy, graceful form and relaxed position, belongs to this series of sculptures. The head is in profile, the arms, crossed and bent close in front of the body conjure up a position in which an imaginary flute is held. Above the shoulders the head is shielded by stylized wings. The legs are crossed below the knees, with the bent left leg in front and the right leg firmly resting on the pedestal. The figure is characterised by the Secession linearity and flatness of soft and fluid surfaces. The back of the sculpture is hollow, which contributes to the esoteric perception.

Text: Tatijana Gareljić, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art©National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Photo: Goran Vranić©National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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