Toma Rosandic

Toma Rosandic

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Toma Rosandic, a Serbo-Croatian artist, was born in Split on the Dalmatian coast, the son of a stoneworker. Together with Ivan Mestrovic (1883-1962), he was the most prominent of the Yugoslav sculptors of his day. Through the post-war foundation of a school in Belgrade, known as the 'Master Workshop'' Rosandic gave guidance and instruction to a new generation of sculptors that include Olga Jancic (b.1929), who has emulated the international acclaim extended to her master. Amongst the many artists and public personalities that frequented the workshop was Henry Moore, during his exhibition in Belgrade in March 1955. During the early years in Split, Croatia, Rosandic learnt to carve in wood as well as stone and was much inspired by the younger Mestrovic who had moved there from Otavice. Both sculptors studied abroad before returning to Split, Rosandic touring Italy and exhibiting in Milan in 1906 and Belgrade in 1912. Something of their parallel development and underlying rivalry can be understood from their respective projects to combine sculpture and architecture. Both constructed a mausoleum, Rosandic for the Petrinovic family (Supetar, on the Island of Brac off Split) and Mestrovic to the Racic family (Cavtat, south of Dubrovnik). Each exhibit the influence of Dalmatian history, but while Mestrovic's mausoleum is based on the principal of simplicity, Rosandic richly ornamented his building with a blend of Gothic and Renaissance motifs to convey a more national character. With the outbreak of war Rosandic left for London where he exhibited at the Grafton Galleries in 1917 and later in Brighton and Edinburgh. It was at the Grafton that he first exhibited the original model of Devica, which he had carved in walnut wood. Casson commented that in this work one can appreciate the originality and personal style of Rosandic better than in any other. After 1945 Rosandic settled in Belgrade where in his maturity he executed two of his greatest masterpieces: the pair of stone statues of a man struggling with a horse, which flank the entrance to the Federal Parliament building, and an enormous stone frieze of figures for a monument in Subotica, Vojvodina (1952). Many of his bronze projects at this time were cast in the Vozdovac foundry and other works by his hand can be found at the Toma Rosandic Memorial Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, Belgrade.
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