84 | Visitors to theNationalMuseuminBelgradeduring December and January will have an opportunity – alongside the possibility of acquainting themselves with and enjoying the museum’s permanent exhibits – to enjoy a thematic exhibition that presents more than 40 sculptures created by themost prominentYugoslav sculptor – Ivan Meštrović (1883-1962). Almost all of the sculptures exhibited in the Great Gallery on the second oor of the central museumbuilding are fromthe collectionof theNationalMuseum, whichpreserves a total of 80 works by Ivan Meštrović, a sculptor whose artistic glory far exceeded the borders of Yugoslavia. The majority of these sculptural works, most of which were created prior to World War I, are so-called Vidovdan fragments – sculptures designed for the unrealised monumental architectural and sculptural whole of the Vidovdan Temple, created during a period of turbulent historical events that were marked by the artist’s adherence to the notion of cultural and political unity and the liberation of the Southern Slavic peoples. They were mostly sculpted between 1908 and 1910, while the wooden model of the Vidovdan Temple, which is today preserved at the National Museum in Kruševac (it has been brought to Belgrade for the purposes of the current exhibition), was made in 1912. Works from this cycle have always attracted exceptional attention as parts of all exhibitions inwhich they’ve been exhibited, as they don’t stand out only due to their artistic values, but also due to their engaging nature as a symbol of the liberation aspirations of the Yugoslav peoples, embodied through the greatest heroes from the rich treasury of Serbian folk creation, such as KraljevićMarko, MilošObilić, Srđa Zlopogleđa etc. From Vienna – where he completed his studies at the Academy in1906and remained resident for awhile–Meštrović headed to Paris, where some of what are perhaps the most signi cant works from the Kosovo cycle were created in 1908, and high opinions of his sculptures were expressed by the top sculptors of the time, Auguste Rodin (Meštrović is the greatest phenomenon among sculptors) andAntoine Bourdelle. He arrived in Belgrade for the rst time in 1904, in order to create a portrait of King Petar Karađorđević, and it was during that time that he met the future king, Prince Alexander Karađorđević, with whom he would establish a close friendship, which also manifested in Meštrović’s artistic engagements. The sculptural works of IvanMeštrović from the collection of the National Museum in Belgrade represent a significant collective that bears witness to an earlier period of his work connected with part of an oeuvre inspired by the tragedy and heroism of heroes sung of in Serbian folk poetry. These sculptures were created with a wide range of stylistic characteristics – from realism, via reminiscences to ancient plastic, then full, tense, sometimes baroque-energised, expressive vital forms, toworks with pronounced Secession stylisation. Apart from sculptures that have an engaging character, he also produced a series of portraits of personalitieswhomarked the rst decades of the 20th century in various elds of life, such as King Petar, politician Nikola Pašić, Milenko Vesnić, Jovan Dučić and others. This part of Meštrović’s rich and diverse work, which is preserved in the collection of the National Museum and includes several masterpieces of Yugoslav sculpture, today represents a testimony to a period of time, and to his aesthetic and political ideas and ideals. BEOGRADSKI SPOMENICI Pre nego što zakorače u ambijent izložbe u Velikoj galeriji Narodnog muzeja, posetioce će na samom ulazu u muzejsko zdanje dočekati dva niza Meštrovićevih karijatida i monumentalne skulpture Sećanje i Velika udovica u predvorju, kao celine stalne postavke Narodnog muzeja. Meštrović je u više navrata stvarao javne spomenike koji se i danas mogu videti u Beogradu, predstavljajući trajno obeležje umetnika i njegovog vremena. Nad ušćem Save u Dunav, na Beogradskoj tvrđavi, Meštrovićev Pobednik, monumentalni muški akt sa mačem i sokolom u ruci, postavljen je na visoko postolje davne 1927. U toku je rekonstrukcija spomenika, a model Pobednika u gipsu izložen je u Narodnom muzeju. U neposrednoj blizini, ne Kalemegdanu, stoji Meštrovićev Spomenik zahvalnosti Francuskoj, a nešto niže, ispod Paviljona Cvijeta Zuzorić, na zelenoj površini postavljen je Meštrovićev Anđeo smrti nastao 1911. Spomenik neznanom junaku na Avali, arhitektonsko-skulptorsko ostvarenje, podignut je u periodu od 1934. do 1938. po porudžbini kralja Aleksandra Karađorđevića, a u spomen nastradalih u Balkanskim ratovima. Izvedeno u formi mauzoleja, upotpunjeno je kolosalnim skulpturama Ivana Meštrovića. BELGRADE MONUMENTS Before stepping into the ambience of the exhibition in the Grand Gallery of the National Museum, visitors will be greeted at the very entrance to the museum by two rows of Meštrović’s Caryatids and the monumental sculptures Sećanje [Remembrance] and Velika udovica [the Great Widow] in the lobby, as a collective of the National Museum’s permanent exhibition. He created multiple public monuments that can still be seen in Belgrade today, representing a lasting mark of this artist and the period during which he created. Above the con uence of the rivers Sava and Danube, atop Belgrade’s Kalemegdan Fotress, Meštrović’s monumental ‘Victor’ sculpture - a male nude with a sword and a hawk in his hands - was mounted on a tall pedestal in 1927. The reconstruction of the monument is currently underway, while a plaster model of the Victor is on display at the National Museum. In the immediate vicinity, on Kalemegdan, Meštrović created the Monument of Gratitude to France, while slightly lower, beneath the Cvjeta Zuzorić Art Pavilion, on an area of greenery, stands Meštrović’s Angel of Death, created in 1911... The monument to the Unknown Hero on Avala is an architectural and sculptural creation erected on Mount Avala between 1934 and ‘38, at the behest of King Alexander Karađorđević, and in memory of those who perished during the BalkanWars. It was designed in the form of a mausoleum and is complemented by colossal sculptures created by Meštrović.