The Vukovar Municipal Museum of Ilok is the Odescalchi castle, Ilok used to be royal town…where is the artist in this story?
Ace from the sleeve: curator that will excite you
Iy you are lucky a young, highly talented academic painter Zoran Šimunović will await you in the Vukovar Municipal Museum, an hour and a half of a tour will pass in a minute. He will intrigue you regardless of your art affinities – only rare can do that. Zoran is one of them. Used to serious, uniformed curators in states or town museums, this painter – whose way of dressing would be described as Hipster style in lifestyle magazines – lives art to the full. But it has not always been like that. He was born in Nuštar, he was farmer’s son, so he enrolled Agricultural faculty after high school. Luckily, he soon found out that his path lies in painting, and Academy was the only logical choice.
In search for place where to exhibit his paintings he arrived to the Vukovar Municipal Museum a couple of years ago. Even though he was – of course – declined (for such a serious institution you have to prove yourself), he stayed long and only later he found out that it was actually an informal job interview. It is hard to imagine that artists of restless spirit would settle down as curators, but Zoran is completely devoted to his job, and the Museum is happy to have him. He enjoys the most to organize exhibitions n his parent company, and with that – he admits – the work with museum’s art collections is of great help in his own creations.
Everything is possible and there are no rules
His exhibitions show how creative he is. This year (2019) he had six exhibitions (one of them in Graz). He paints the space around him, everything that surrounds him in the interior, objects he has or would like to have, and it is interesting that his own tattoos are his own author’s work. He says that the artists always paint, when not on a canvas then in his head, and he paints on himself.
„Today everything is possible and there are no rules, you create what you want, the choice is colourful that there is always something for everybody, the only thing that is left is to give over and enjoy the art” says Zoran, whom – those who know art – call one of the best young Croatian artist.
The most beautiful building in Vukovar
So, the tour in the museum with Zoran Šimunović turns into a real experience. As a painter – he will especially intrigue you for the Painting collection of dr. Antun Bauer from the end of the 19th century… But we will not expose everything you can see in the museum, which, by the way, received a prestige award Silleto for the Museum of the Year. We owe you just a couple of sentences about the unique building in which the museum has been situated since 1968.
It is actually the Eltz castle, as many inhabitants of Vukovar and guests say, the most beautiful building in town. The owner of Vukovar feudatory, count Anzelmo Kazimir started its construction in 1749, it underwent its first expansion some thirty years later, and in the beginning of the 20th century the Viennese architect Siedeka gave it its recognizable lavish appearance. At the end of the last century it was completely destroyed in the Homeland war. Its old glow was returned in new millennium so the art historians and architects consider it one of the most representative buildings of baroque period in Croatia.
Everything spins around Odescalchi
Another castle in the east of Croatia has been converted into an attractive museum. The Odescalchi castle is the seat of Museum of Ilok with archaeology, medieval, ethnography and gallery department. From its atrium there is the most beautiful belvedere over Danube in Ilok, and today’s renovated building has been dominating the easternmost town in Croatia for centuries.
After it was given to the Pope Innocent XI, Odescalchi and his Italian noble family, as a sign of gratitude for the help in liberation of Ilok against the Ottomans, Pope’s nephews expanded it in the 18th century, and under the castle they arranged modern wine cellars which are the biggest tourist attraction in town, especially for those you appreciate premium wines – with emphasis on Ilok Traminer.
Even though the castle is named after him, Odescalchi family is not responsible for its construction. Nikola of Ilok, bearer of many titles – governor of Croatia, Slavonia and Mačva, duke of Transylvania and king of Bosnia, built it in the 15th century.
Royal town of Nikola of Ilok
Due to the last, Ilok was not just another town in line of medieval fortresses but a real royal town. Surrounded by walls on the hill over the right bank of Danube, it had everything a capitol should have – palace, court chapel, parish church, Franciscan monastery, old castle, economy buildings. In the upper part of the fortress the feudatory lived, and in the lower there was the centre of economy life.
Walls of total length of 1350 meters, intersected with small round and rectangular towers, are the part of the best-preserved fortification complex in continental part of Croatia.
Ilok fortress, Eltz and Odescalchi – castles of unusual beauty and exceptional cultural value are an important part of rich offer of the destination Vukovar-Vučedol-Ilok, also European destination of excellence (EDEN), which received this prestigious award on the theme of cultural tourism. When you add far known hospitality, great food and premium wines – there is no doubt! Your next destination will most certainly be Syrmia.