A flamboyantly Art Nouveau building originally constructed for Croatia’s art offerings in Budapest’s Millennial Exhibition in 1896, the Art Pavilion (‘Umjetnicki Paviljon’ in Croatian) was taken down piece by piece and transported back to Croatia. There it was rebuilt on the verdant ‘Green Horseshoe’ designed by Milan Lenuci in the late 19th century and encompassing a string of parks, squares and monumental buildings in Zagreb’s Lower Town. Overlooking the manicured formal gardens and fountains of King Tomislav Square (Trg kralja Tomislava), the Art Pavilion mimics the nearby Croatian National Theatre in style, and its glass-topped dome is now a symbol of Croatian culture and one of the best-loved landmarks of the city.
Painted in bright daffodil-yellow and adorned with stucco work and busts of Croatian artists and Renaissance Old Masters, the pavilion has a stately interior that was renovated in 2010 with ornate gilding, marble walls and floors and stained glass, with light flooding in from the central glass dome. Today it hosts a regular program of temporary art exhibitions, which can cover any medium from out-there Croatian video installations through to large-scale international exhibitions such as the works of Andy Warhol or the sculptures and lithographs of Alberto Giacometti.
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