Collection of Painted Leather

The collection of painted gilt leather is quantitatively not big, but it is an extremely valuable collection and interesting for its artistic quality as well as cultural and historical value of the preserved items.

This artistic activity developed in the Middle Ages in Spain and through the centuries of its development has reached a high level of design and artistic value of their products. The art that originated from Spain later provided creative impetus to many workshops throughout Europe. It is important to stress the role and importance of the Arabs who brought this technique to the European continent, where they worked as the first masters of the technique. The amount of fragments and whole items of decorative leather testify of its widespread use in our country in the period from 16th to 17th century. Known data on the use of decorative leather in housing equipment in Dubrovnik in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the precious material also appears in nobility houses in Split in the same period. In the 17th century, in the era of full blossoming of decorative leather manufacturing, its use is widespread in northern Croatia as well. Available data reveals that it was used for decorating walls of noble residences, house chapels, but objects of gilt and painted leather also decorated monastery and the village churches. The historical data reflects in the collection, whose core is formed already in the first years of the museum. The museum presents examples of the most important European production areas, and according to their purpose and function these objects can be divided into three main groups. These are primarily representative antependia, then altar pillows and fragments or larger whole leather wallpapers and leather fragments for other purposes. These objects belong to the period from the 16th to mid-18th century.