Treasures of Croatia restored by Venetian Heritage Inc.
curated by Josko Belamaric
One of the most important achievements was the organization of an exhibition, in Venice, of objects, paintings, sculptures and manuscripts from Croatia, most of them restored with funds from Venetian Heritage. The show was organized under the high Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic and enjoyed the support of UNESCO and the Ministers of Culture of Croatia and Italy. It not only preserved from further deterioration about one hundred objects of unusual interest, in part for their artistic quality and in part because so little known, but also allowed comparisons between sculptures in Croatia and similar works preserved in Venetian museums and churches.
The exhibition included sculptures by Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino and Giovanni Dalmata, one of the four statues by Alessandro Vittoria from the Cathedral of Trogir, paintings by Biagio di Giorgio of Trogir, Quirizio of Murano, Gentile Bellini, Lorenzo Lotto, Jacopo Tintoretto and Jacopo Palma il Giovane, gold reliquaries and liturgical objects from the 12th to 16th centuries, liturgical vestments of the Veneto- Byzantine school and codices and manuscripts from the 13th through the 15th centuries.
Hostilities caused much damage to the historical heritage of Dubrovnik, Sibenik, Zadar and other historic centres, many of them under the protection of the World Heritage Convention. A large part of the damage inflicted by grenades has already been repaired. Still, much remains to be done, in part because, in certain fields as in the restoration of stone, frescoes and goldsmith works the expertise and experience available in Italy and especially in Venice, Florence and Rome – where work in these fields has been under way for fifty years – lack in Croatia. Working on site, Italian restorers, with the cooperation of the Monuments and Fine Arts Office of Split, catalogued the works of art, paintings, sculptures, reliquaries and liturgical objects in need of repair. Experts from Austria, Croatia, Italy and Germany restored these artistic treasures that Trogir owns.
This exhibition owed its existence above all to the indefatigable works of the Monuments and Fine Arts Office of Split, Josko Belamaric and his collaborators, Vanja Kovacic and Radoslav Buzancic, of Maria Teresa Rubin de Cervin, former Director of UNESCO Liaison Office in Venice, member of the Board of Directors of Venetian Heritage and at the time Director of the Veneto Regional office of the Ministry of Culture, of Dr. Anne Markham Schulz, member of the Board of Directors of Venetian Heritage, and of Toto Bergamo Rossi.