Just about this time last year, in the article called Eternal Beauty of Mirogoj, I shared some reasons for a visit to the cemetery on that day. I’d like to continue in the same tone, trying to persuade you of its patinated beauty. This time, the story is expanded to those whose mission was to bring beauty to this world - the artists of Mirogoj.
No wonder you can often hear the words an outdoor art gallery when people talk about Mirogoj. Artworks are scattered all around its surface, especially in the oldest part. Even the locals, each time they visit, find some curious artistic gravestones they didn’t notice earlier.
There are so many allegoric sculptures depicting sadness caused by the void left in this world. Other statues are whispering words full of hope about what awaits in death. I wonder which monuments will catch your attention? You might be looking at the work of some of the famous Croatian artists, such as Ivan Meštrović, Robert Frangeš Mihanović, Antun Augustinčić, Vanja Radauš, Dušan Džamonja, Vojin Bakić and more, without even knowing it.
Photo description: The monument to the fallen soldiers of WW1 by an exquisite sculptor Vanja Radauš
Beware, though... Once you start paying attention and spotting the emotional gravestones, your curiosity will prolong your planned visit, as each grave has its story to share. If you spot something that lures you, read the names and try to google the person. There is a good chance a curious story will pop out, and you will soon be overwhelmed by the feeling you're immersed in Croatian history. It will become clear why this place has another nickname: the Pantheon of Zagreb. Mirogoj is the final resting place of many famous Croatian personalities, including some of the very artists that once decorated some graves with their genius.
If you wish to search for some art or artists’ graves, and find out more about them, download a free app called Cemetery guide Mirogoj and choose Tours - Artists. This tour is far from fair - it is just a portion of art history that underlines Mirogoj. Still, it is a good overview of vivid life stories beyond the quiet thumb stones.
All those artists, they still leave an impact on any living visitor to the cemetery. They still contribute to the harmonious holistic feel of any visit to Mirogoj. Through their art, they linger around, offering comfort to those who are still here, and they turn each cemetery walk into a contemplative experience.
Photo description: You will surely notice this sleepy angel alone outside the cemetery walls. On the inside, there are so many art pieces, that it's easy to miss some. Take your time.
Header image credit: Iva Silla
Author: Iva Silla