Photo: A Walk Through Naive Art in Hlebine

It’s always a good idea to visit the birthplace of Croatian naive art, but last weekend in August makes it absolutely perfect. That’s when an immersive event called Walk Through Hlebine takes place. This August, the village was as colourful and friendly as can be.

Yes, a village. The most famous Croatian art movement comes from a village, where a group of authors started an art movement, world-known as Hlebine School, famous for the difficult technique of painting with oil on glass.

Gallery Josip Generalić in Hlebine – Marijana Generalić explaining how the painting is created.

If you don’t know much about art techniques, you’ve probably gone through the previous sentence without thinking about it much. If you’ve ever seen the photos of naive art somewhere in the brochures, you might even feel a certain repulsion towards the painted characters. When I was a kid, I was literally afraid of them. They were staring at me from the walls, with their big bare feet like Hobbits, always chopping the woods or working in fields – there is always an intimidating tool in their hands, someone with a scary wrinkled face and a hat that’s too small is binge-drinking straight from a huge jug and there’s a tiny forest in the back with no leaves because it’s winter, but it looks like it burned in flames… I was terrified of those paintings, to tell you the truth.

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Photo: Mirogoj Cemetery on All Saints’ Day

If you find yourself anywhere in Croatia at the very beginning of November, my best advice is: visit a cemetery.

As we get to know each other through future posts, you will realise that I love mysterious tales and places. But that’s not a reason for this strange recommendation. The first day of November is the All Saints’ Day. Traditionally, the majority of people visits graves of their loved ones to leave flowers and candles. The sight is absolutely magical by the evening when candle lights take over the darkness.

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