Renaissance Masterpiece to Be Exhibited in Zagreb for Next 8 Years

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For the next eight years, Zagreb and its Museum of Arts and Crafts (MUO) will be a unique destination for international art lovers. The MUO has become the temporary home of a Renaissance masterpiece made by great Croatian-Venetian painter Andrija Medulić Schiavone, “King Saul being greeted in triumph after David’s defeat of Goliath”, reports Večernji List on February 17, 2019.

It is an oil on wood painting made in Venice in 1540 which has never been publicly presented. Even the Medulić’s 1980 monograph says that the work had been seen only in photographs. The dimensions of the painting are 92.5 x 109.8 centimetres.

During its rich history, the painting has changed many owners, from the London antique dealer Martino Colnaghi, through Prince Paul of Karađorđević in the 20th century, who sold it in 1969 together with the furniture of his villa, to a private collector in Italy, from where it appeared after 50 years at Christie’s in London.

This is when Andrija Kojaković, the Dubrovnik-born entrepreneur, ambassador and collector, bought the painting. After being hidden for centuries, he decided to lend it to the MUO so that art lovers would have an opportunity to enjoy the work of the great Croatian painter. “Others who have such artworks should give them to the museums too and present them to the general public because enjoying something alone is a bit selfish,” said Kojaković at the MUO where he was joined by art historian Flora Turner-Vučetić and MUO director Miroslav Gašparović.

“I never wanted to compete at an auction when a Croatian institution or museum would be involved because I thought it was not fair. If more similar paintings appear in the future, I will certainly continue with my efforts,” said Kojaković, adding that he was just a person who enjoys things connected with Dubrovnik; he also owns a collection of old Dubrovnik money. He is also interested in paintings by British artists who painted Dubrovnik and old maps depicting the Dubrovnik Republic. “While I worked as an ambassador, I had to prove that Prevlaka is part of Croatia, and on all the old maps that is shown very clearly. That is why they are so interesting to me,” Kojaković said.

The temporary donation is a great honour for the MUO since this painting is one of just 20 confirmed works by Andrija Medulić, two of which are already located in Zagreb. “This is really an act of charity, which is not common in our society, and therefore this sends a message of how we should all do good for the community,” Gašparović pointed out.

The city authorities also thanked Kojaković. “With this generous act, the MUO permanent exhibition will be considerably enriched during the next eight years, and this will certainly help this museum to remain one of the most visited museums in Croatia,” said Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, the representative of the Zagreb Mayor.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Jelena Ružić).

More Zagreb news can be found in the dedicated section.


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