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Monday 2 October 2023

Croatian Culture Corner

I'm back from a mostly enjoyable visit to Zagreb. To be more specific, everything in Zagreb was good, the return journey was not. Thanks to the efforts of Lufthansa (although 'effort' seems the wrong word in the context) I finally got home around 2a.m. yesterday morning.

After I got the work bit of the trip done I was able to fit in some culture before beginning the long trek home. The Croatian Museum of Naive Art in the Upper Town became a favourite of mine back in the pre-pandemic days when I used to visit Zagreb regularly, and it was good to go back.

The main attraction for me is the room devoted to the work of the Ivan Rabuzin, but there are lots of other interesting exhibits too. Here are a couple of personal favourites from the current exhibition - the first from Mr Rabuzin, the other from Ivan Generalić  - and any art buffs out there can find some more over at my Flickr account.

The music side of the Croatian culture hunt also went well. It was good to see my pals in Free Bird Records - Zagreb's finest second-hand record shop - and as expected I picked up some bargains there. Less expected was the discovery of a brand new record shop in the city centre. 

Its called Croatia Records, and as the name suggests it specialises in local music - not just from Croatia but also other parts of the former Yugoslavia. It has a fine selection of vintage reissues from the old state-run Jugoton Records alongside all the current releases.

Between the two shops I came away with a decent haul. Here are just a few of the records you can expect to be subjected to in the near future if I don't get distracted. I am particularly looking forward to listening to the last one.

"Jugoton Funk" features a track by the great Josipa Lisac. I know Josipa has an avid following among the Portuguese goat herding community, so this goes out to them.

"Ti Si Genije" - Josipa Lisac

"Sreća" - Josipa Lisac


  1. and we, the herded portuguese goats, are looking forward to more croatian music

  2. Being an uncultured sort, I was sure The Croatian Museum of Naive Art must be a typo. Imagine my joy at discovering it wasn't. I need more Naive Art in my collection.

    Meanwhile, Josipa Lisac clearly has a fine set of lungs on her. And I mean that in the literal sense, not as some sleazy 70s innuendo.

    1. I am glad you clarified that. Sleazy 70s innuendo from English teachers should be left to "Mind Your Language" where it belongs

  3. Great to hear you had a good trip. I love the art, beautiful - and don't think of it as naive at all. I don't know much about art from that part of the world but a while ago was exploring some Slovenian illustration and found some very similar examples; perhaps there's something about the region that nurtures that distinct approach. Ooh, hark at me sounding all arty farty.
    Agree with Rol about Josipa Lisac - and (art again), I like those three record covers.

    1. I must admit I had never heard the term naive art before I discovered the museum.

      Apparently it is called naive because it has an "awkward relationship to the formal qualities of painting, especially not respecting the three rules of the perspective: decrease of the size of objects proportionally with distance, muting of colors with distance, and decrease of the precision of details with distance". So now we know.

      It may well be a regional thing. A lot of the artists featured in the museum come from an area close to the borders with Slovenia and Hungary.