The Academy’s Gallery of Old Masters was named after its founder, Josip Juraj Strossmayer, the bishop of Đakovo. Over the years, the bishop had collected numerous works of art, from the fifteenth century Italian Primitives to contemporary Croatian painters of his own time. In 1868, he decided to donate his collection to the Croatian people, entrusting it to the Academy. He ensured the building of a neo-Renaissance palace in Zagreb, designed by the Viennese architect Franz Schmidt, so that the works of art could be adequately presented to the public. The gallery and the palace were opened on 9th November 1884, with holdings of 256 works of art. The gallery has subsequently been enlarged and enriched by new acquisitions and donations from a broad array of philanthropists from Ivan Ružić and Marquis Etienne de Piennes to Ante Topić Mimara and Zlatko Baloković. Today the Strossmayer Gallery holds a collection of respectable European names in painting which are indispensable as an introduction to and study of European artistic endeavors from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. Due to the enlargement of the gallery’s holdings, the modern works and those of more specific genres have become parts of the permanent collections of several new galleries in Croatia. The Strossmayer Gallery is known in Europe not only for its collection of minor masters of the Italian Renaissance, but also for its style-defining names from the past: Beato Angelico, Vittore Carpaccio, Andrija Medulić, Jacopo Palma il Giovane, Federico Benković, El Greco, the master-painter of Virgo inter virgines, Joachim Patenier, Jan Wellensz de Cock, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Jean-Antoine Gros.
Source: Strossmayer Gallery