The Croatian Museum of Naïve Art
While conventional art galleries celebrate works by highly trained masters, the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, located in Zagreb, houses works by self-taught artists isolated from the artistic mainstream.
Complete Video Script
Nearby is the Croatian Museum of Naive Art. This charming collection features lyrical landscapes and village scenes painted in the mid-20th century by self-taught peasant artists. While some are on canvas, most are painted on glass — a cheap and readily available material that was easier to work on.
Naive art is created by untrained artists isolated from the artistic mainstream. They painted in a figurative way, while the rest of the artistic world embraced, increasingly, an abstract style.
Generalić, shown here in a self-portrait, was the father of the Croatian Naive Art movement. In 1953, he took his art to a show in Paris as a relative unknown. He was a huge hit, sold everything, and came home rich and famous.
These Croatian naïve artists were outsiders — sought out by art-world insiders to validate their notion that artistic ability was more than a learned skill — it was an inborn talent.
In places such as rural Croatia, medieval lifestyles survived well into the 20th century. You see a lot of winter scenes because these artists were farmers first…busy tending their fields through the growing season. They painted their village world, isolated from the modern world. In a complex age, many urbanites found this art refreshing for its brute simplicity.