Ivan's horse (croat. Ivanov konj) or last largest bronze statue of a horse with the end of the 20th century

The last largest bronze statue of a horse with the end of the 20th century called „Ivan's horse“, was created in 1985. when it represented a work of young, but today one of  the biggest Croatian artist and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vladimir Gašparić-Gape (born in 1951). This is a bronze work with a large size (450 x 400 x 130 cm) which reconciles wild vitalism and forces of life with one hand and a clear structure and architecture of the building on the other side. Its clarity of construction, constructive actions, sculptor doesn't cancel the original expression of animal vitality, but moreover, he increases it. By not smoothing exterior and surface roughness of compounds, rusticity structure and expression of the horse, sculptor creates empathy and active relationship with the observer and the space.

It is undoubtedly, that Ivan's horse came from a long European tradition of cavalry monuments, but also from those medieval (Vikings, Scythians, etc.), and deeper, the starting time of human history. It is also a constructivist morphology which here speaks about "wood technique" and the general constructivist postulates of avant-garde art. Here we can see the kinship, but not similarity,  with the heritage of modern and contemporary art (for example, with musical instruments of P. Picasso, elementary circuits of Arhipenko A., G. Vantogerloa's facilities), but also with a methodological patience of L. Nevelsona and with expressive horse and existentialism horsemen

The morphological and stylistic terms, this work (as well as a large part of the opus of this artist) owes its rich baroque heritage of his native city of Varazdin, numerous Baroque churches, palaces and houses with wooden doors, portals and their rough hewn wooden furniture in which is reflected the subtlety and harshness, and above all the mystique of content and clarity of construction.

This topic, with such dimensions and value ranges, as also concrete work with a lot of reasons, in today's contemporary art and recent practice, we could call, a sort of "Last of the Mohicans." Because, the largest bronze horse of the late 20th century reconciles historical and contemporary experience, indicates the strength of „the old“ and power „of the new“, and undoubtedly contributes to the common mythical human memory. And as the Indians in Chicago (USA), of the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic, aren't specific a figure but symbols of freedom and power, so this one, Ivan's Horse, Vladimir Gašparić-Gape, through the noblest form of animal, creates an image of an indestructible life uninhibited.

(Prof. dr. Ive Šimat Banov – professor at Faculty of Philosophy in Split)