The Collection of Paintings has its origins in the National Museum, where already at an early date (1858) it counted 146 paintings, primarily portraits. Today the Collection consists of over 1,200 artworks, largely oil on canvas. The works are signed or have been attributed to foreign (Jean Fouquet, Martin van Meytens Mlađi, Stephan Dorffmeister Stariji, J. B. Lampi Stariji, Johann Michael Millitz, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Barbara Krafft, Johann Daniel Donat, Franz Eybl, Friedrich von Amerling, Josef Kriehuber, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, August Prinzhofer, Franz Schrotzberg, Wilhelm August Rieder, Johann Killian Herrlein, Mihael Stroy, František Wiehl, Ivan Zasche and many others) or domestic painters (Vjekoslav Karas, Ivan Skvarčina, Jakov Stager, Josip Franjo Mücke, Jakov Šašel, Vlaho Bukovac, Miroslav Kraljević, Joso Bužan, Ivan Tišov and many others), or they are high-quality works by anonymous artists.
Portraits are the most frequently exhibited and the most numerous component of the Collection. They were painted from the late fifteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Besides the members of many aristocratic and bourgeois families who lived in these lands, they also portray rulers, high clergymen, writers, poets... The Collection also includes 120 portrait miniatures, painted from the end of the eighteenth to the latter half of the nineteenth century . The Museum also possesses several daguerreotypes.
Historical painting is represented by well-known artists' names whose works were made from the early blossoming of this branch of painting in the Croatian lands in the latter half of the nineteenth century until the first decades of the twentieth: Josip Franjo Mücke, Ferdinand Quiquerez, Dragutin Weingärtner, Oton Iveković, Celestin Medović, Vlaho Bukovac and others.
Vistas, landscapes and themes from the lives of everyday people are present in the Collection in a smaller number. Clerical painting is present in the Collection in about eighty paintings which emerged from the late fifteenth to the late nineteenth century. The Graphics Collection today counts over 5,000 sheets, made by various printing and painting techniques from the fifteenth to early twentieth century.
Portraits, with approximately 2,000 sheets, constitute the most numerous component of the Collection. They were made using various techniques: woodcut, copper engraving, copperplate, lithography, oleography, photography and printing. They emerged over a broad period from the latter half of the sixteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries in Croatia and in well-known European centres (Augsburg, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Bratislava...). They are the works of various artists – from exceptionally valuable (masters from the Aubry family, Adam Ritter von Bartsch, Adrian Bloem, Cornelius Meyssens, Josef Kriehuber, Albert Dauthage, Julije Hühn, Tomislav Krizman, Menci Klement Crnčić and many other European and Croatian masters) to amateur works.
Through the portrayals of battles and scenes held in the Collection, printed in various techniques, it is possible to follow the history of this and neighbouring regions, from the Battle of Sisak, through the centuries of warfare with the Ottomans and the march of Eugene of Savoy, numerous portrayals of battles in 1848 and 1849 to the various images thematically tied to the Second World War. Among the many water-colour paintings made in the nineteenth century, a collection of roughly fifty vistas by Joseph Leard are noteworthy, as are water colours by Oton Iveković, Bela Csikos-Sessia and Sigismund Landsinger on which the old hillforts of Croatia are shown. The depictions of folk attire, produced mainly in the first half of the nineteenth century, form a valuable and fascinating part of the Collection, and it includes small holy images, of which some are very valuable works of the eighteenth century done on parchment, followed by philosophical observations printed on silk, Biedermayer greeting cards, playing cards (among which there are three complete decks of cards of the Zagreb Hall), oleography, and several interesting books from the seventeenth and eighteenth century.
The Sculpture Collection is one of the Museum’s youngest. Today the Collection consists of 125 works, generally portrait busts and relief images, created by artists such as Ivan Rendić and Antonio Canova, as well as Anton Dominik Fernkorn, Ivo Kerdić, Rudolf Valdec... This Collection also preserves several death masks, among them the masks of Ban Josip Jelačić and Dora Pejačević.
Marina Bregovac Pisk, Ph.D., Museum Advisor