Art & culture

Herman Bolle exhibition in Zagreb

Herman Bollé - Builder of Croatian Capital

Herman Bollé (Cologne 18/10/1845 - Zagreb 17/04/1926) was one of the most important and famous architects in Croatia. He was born in Cologne, Germany in 1845 in the city that was during that time starting to become a center of Neo-Gothicism in Europe thanks to a big project of finishing one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, the Cologne cathedral, that is considered to be one of the greatest European Middle Ages monument. Bollé was growing up along with the cathedral he was fascinated by and that guided him towards a builder’s profession. After the education in a craft school in Koln he worked in his father’s building company. Not long after that he started working in a famous workshop of Heinrich Wiethase that was specialized for sacral architecture. After working in Vienna and several other cities for Friedrich von Schmidt, he started to work on the drawings of Croatian Academy and he worked with Croatian bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer and with Croatian art historian Isidor Kršnjavi. The main project for Schmidt and Bollé was the restoration of the Croatian cathedral. By restoring the cathedral he made, by medieval standards, a cathedral workshop from which later will shoot up a craft school and Museum of Crafts and Art.  After a big earthquake that stroke Zagreb Bollé became the main restorer of many sacral and profane buildings. Bollé restored medieval churches by removing scars of newer art movements trying to bring them back to the first ideal condition. He would often restore Renaissance and Baroque art pieces. The most important restoration project was the Zagreb cathedral, which even today owes its interior to great Bollé. Bollé restored almost all sacral buildings in Zagreb: Franciscan, Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Church, Saint Mary at Dolac, Parish Church of Remete and many others outside Zagreb.

Besides restoring old buildings, Bollé also built many new sacral buildings and because of that fact the 19th century Zagreb press declared him a “temple builder”. The Evangelic Church in Zagreb, Parish churches in Granešina, Erdevik, Tounj and many others are example of his relentless talent.

His biggest work of art is the architectural framework of Zagreb cemetery Mirogoj. It is one of the most spectacular graveyard complexes in Europe that puts Zagreb on a high place in the history of architecture. Mirogoj framework, in Croatian called “Mirogoj arcades”, were being built for more than 6 decades, from 1878 to the end of the 1930.

The exhibition Herman Bollé- Builder of Croatian Capital opens today, on 17 April, in the Museum of Arts and Crafts and you'll have a chance to see it until 23 August 2015.