Garden of EdenEmilan Grguric (1919 – 1997)
Kukljica, Zadarska županija, Croatia
The Garden of Eden is no longer accessible to the public, some of the sculptures and sections of the building may be viewed from the street.
About the Artist/Site
For over thirty years, Emilan Grgurić worked on a sculpture garden that he called the Garden of Eden, surrounding his home, Villa Katarina, located in the fishing village Kukljica on the shores of the Croatian island of Ugljan. Within the garden, which measures around 2000 square meters, some 35 concrete statues, mostly life-size or larger, flank the grounds and pathway toward the central villa. They include a self-portrait of the artist as well as several composite works with intricate narratives; many are identified with carved names or comments. The inscriptions as well as some of the other details were doubtless molded within a form specially created for that purpose.
The villa itself has the footprint of a four-leaf clover; designed and built by Grgurić himself, it can also be understood as a work of sculptural architecture. The façade culminates in a high gable topped with a portrait bust of Grgurić‘s mother, Katarina, for whom the home was named.
The interiors are as interesting and impressive as the exterior of the building; about 20 large and complex concrete reliefs, each with numerous figures and other elements, are set off by deep colored walls. The themes generally depict motifs from the Bible as well as those drawn from Croatia’s stormy history.
All of Grgurić‘s works are thoughtfully conceptualized as well as very well constructed; set within the carefully maintained Mediterranean garden full of mature trees and shrubs, the work provides a compelling visit for the viewer. However, while the Garden of Eden is no longer accessible to the public, some of the sculptures and sections of the building may be viewed from the street.
Map & Site Information
Kukljica, Zadarska županija hr
Latitude/Longitude: 44.032545 / 15.246536
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