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Mimara Museum: A Treasure Trove of Art and History in Zagreb

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to when we visited the amazing Mimara Museum in Zagreb, before the earthquake in 2020. This museum is like a time machine. It brings you back to a time when it first opened its doors to showcase a bunch of cool art and history stuff. 

Back in those years, Mimara Museum was happily sitting in a fancy old building from 1898 on Roosevelt Square. It got started because Wiltrud and Ante Topić Mimara generously gave their art collection to Croatia in 1973. The museum used to be part of the Museum-Gallery Center until it became its own thing in 1999, called the „Public Institution Art Collection of Ante and Wiltrude Topić Mimara – Mimara Museum.“ 

Mimara Art Museum Building Facade

Walking through the museum, we saw all kinds of things from way back – like paintings and stuff – from before prehistory to the early 1900s. It was like a history lesson on the walls, with cool art styles like Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, and Post-Impressionism. The paintings were done by famous folks like Raphael, Veronese, Rubens, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Goya, and Manet. 

Then, we checked out the old stuff in the archaeological collection – things from way back, like the old days and ancient times. There were Etruscan things and statues from ancient Romans. In another part, they had delicate things like porcelain, faience, and glass from ancient Egypt, medieval times, and different places in Europe. 

Our adventure didn’t stop there. We went to the Far East part of the museum, where we saw cool carpets and things made from rare stuff like jade and ivory, mostly from China. The museum had this cool exhibition that showed us how people were creative throughout history, like a storybook of human ideas. 

Ante T. Mimara and His Beloved Prof. Dr. Wiltrud Topić Mersmann

“With the opening of the Museum, my heart will be filled with immense joy due to the realization of my life’s goal and the fulfillment of my debt to the homeland and the Croatian people.”

Ante Topić Mimara in Zagreb, December 31, 1985.

In 1985, Ante Topić Mimara expressed immense joy as he achieved his life’s goal and fulfilled his debt to his homeland and the Croatian people by opening the Museum in Zagreb

Zagreb
Zagreb

Ante Topić Mimara, born on April 7, 1898, was not just a collector but also a painter, restorer, and lover of art. Despite spending most of his life outside Croatia, his passion for collecting art never waned. His dream was to turn his art collection into a museum, a project he actively worked on in his later years after moving to Zagreb. 

Starting in the mid-1920s, Mimara began collecting art objects, a hobby that grew into a significant collection over the years. He lived in various European cities, including Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, and Berlin, always expanding his collection through visits to museums, galleries, antique shops, and auctions. 

Mimara Wing
Mimara Wing

Even before World War II, Mimara had a noteworthy art collection, with professional texts about his works appearing in prestigious German art magazines. Despite living abroad, he kept Croatia close to his heart, always contemplating a return and a future donation. 

 

In 1948, he made his first donation by giving numerous paintings and sculptures to Strossmayer’s gallery in Zagreb. The foundation of today’s Mimara Museum was established through his major donations in 1973 and 1986, including works from his collection and those of his wife, Prof. Dr. Wiltrud Topić Mersmann. 

Collections within the museum

Mimara Art Museum Building Facade
  • A collection of ancient civilizations
  • Collection of drawings, graphics and illuminations
  • Collection of European sculpture
  • Collection of ivory
  • Collection of metals and other materials
  • Collection of ceramics and porcelain
  • Glass collection
  • Collection of furniture
  • A collection of textiles and rugs
  • Collection of Far Eastern art
  • Collection of icons
  • Flemish painting
  • Spanish painting
  • French painting
  • Italian painting
  • English painting
  • Dutch painting
  • German, Austrian and Swiss painting 

Museum Mimara – Reconstruction

The Mimara Museum faced significant damage during the earthquake. It had to close its doors to visitors from March 22 of that year. The roof of the building and the fancy hall on the second floor got really messed up. Even some of the cool art on display got damaged, but the good news is that they’re working hard to fix everything. 

Mimara Art Museum Building Facade

After the earthquake, lots of tasks and jobs started to make things better. They’re not only fixing the building but also making sure the precious artworks are back to looking awesome. It’s like a big project to rescue the Mimara Museum! 

Glorius Past and Bright Future

Ante Topić Mimara’s dream of creating a museum became a reality in 1985, and his legacy lives on through the extensive collections that now grace Mimara Museum. His passion for art and dedication to his homeland shine through, inspiring generations to appreciate the beauty of human creativity. 

Fast forward to 2024, and the Mimara Museum is on the brink of a grand comeback. Despite facing significant damage in the earthquake, the restoration efforts are in full swing. The collective efforts to repair the building and restore damaged artworks symbolize a triumphant resurrection of this cultural gem. 

Save the date and be part of the magic – witness the rebirth of Mimara Museum and rediscover the wonders that make it a true cultural treasure. Book your ticket to Zagreb right HERE! 

Your CTC Team

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