|About the museum:
In Zadar, town of a rich and valuable cultural heritage, in the architectural complex of the historic convent of the Benedictine nuns of St Mary’s, the convent buildings demolished in World War II have been restored and an art collection has been set up on the very place where the nuns preserved their priceless treasure from the destruction of war and the greed of the occupier. The Permanent Exhibition of Religious Art was officially opened on December 4, 1976. It covers the treasury and a large number of artworks from Zadar Cathedral, the treasury and paintings from the convent itself, several art objects from the Church of St Simeon and some statues and paintings of a religious character from Zadar belonging to the National Museum. To these have been added some valuable goldsmith works and several paintings from rural churches in the archdiocese. The exhibition is located in two wings of the convent buildings, and the set-up follows the chronological principle. On the ground floor there are rooms for occasional exhibitions and a permanent display of Romanesque sculpture. The interior of the 11th century Church of Holy Sunday, a valuable monument of pre-Romanesque sculpture, is reconstructed here. On the first floor works by paintings, sculptors and goldsmiths are exhibited, as are artistic embroideries from the Romanesque and Gothic. On the second floor there are exhibits from the late Gothic to the Baroque (15th – 18th centuries). Paintings and sculptures and works of fine craft prevail. The oldest items are little cross reliquary probably of the 8th century and two silver reliquaries of the 11th century. There are numerous artworks in the Romanesque style of the 12th and 13th centuries: stone reliefs with architectural decoration and figures of the saints, stone and painted icons, silver reliquaries in the shape of caskets and arms, among which there is a large number of works by domestic craftsmen, particularly of the skilled goldsmiths. Very interesting from the Gothic period are the processional crosses made by domestic goldsmiths and reliquaries in the form of busts of the saints. The donors are known – they were church dignitaries and solid burghers of Zadar as well as commoners, heads of various confraternities. As far as paintings are concerned, special mention should be made of an icon of the Virgin that can be ascribed to Paolo Veneziano and a triptych of “Our Lady of the Town” by the domestic author known as the “painter of the Tkon Crucifix”. The collection also holds the last work of Blaž Jurjev, a copy of an old Byzantine Madonna. The Renaissance polyptych for the altar of St Martin in the cathedral is the work of the well-known Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio. Most of the Baroque works come from Venice. There is also a very valuable collection of lace.