Julije Klović (1498 - 1578), a miniaturist from Grižane, near Novi Vinodolski. Georgius Julius Croat or Juraj Julije Klović Hrvat left his birthplace as a boy to work in Rome, Venice, Florence and Parma. He was highly respected by his contemporaries who honored him with a flattering title of ‘Michelangelo of Miniature’. In keeping with the tradition of his time, Klović painted on commission – for Italian cardinals, Hungarian king Luis II, and others – and his works were considered real masterpieces. Particularly impressive is his Beatissimae Mariae Virginis Officium Codex created for Cardinal Grimani (kept at the British Museum). The same cardinal commissioned him to embellish the Commentary to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (kept at the Soane's Museum, London). Officium Virginis is yet another of his masterpieces that he painted for Cardinal Farnese (kept at the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York). Klović’s miniatures are drawn brilliantly, in a refined coloristic manner, and the characters - positioned in a sumptuous, decorative environment – attract attention with elongated and enigmatic expressions on their faces. Klović's name is also associated with Giorgio Vasari, Pieter Bruegel and Vittorio Colonna. The great El Greco partly owes his ascent to world acclaim to Klović, who recommended the then young artist to Cardinal Farnese. El Greco held Klović in great esteem and portrayed him twice: first as a separate image on a painting from Naples, and afterwards together with the images of Rafaello, Michelangelo and Tiziano on the lower part of the painting called Expulsion of the Merchants from the Temple.
Antonio Michelazzi (1707 - 1772) had his own sculpture and stone-carving workshop in Rijeka. He is recorded in art history as sculptor fluminensis (the sculptor of Rijeka). His sculptures are, however, found outside the boundaries of Rijeka as well – in the cathedrals of Graz and Zagreb, and numerous Istrian and Kvarner locations. Some of his best works – the pulpit and the altars of St. Joseph and St. Francis Ksaver – adorn the Cathedral of St. Vitus in Rijeka. He also constructed the main altars in St. Jerome’s Church in Rijeka, as well as St. Peter and Paul's Church in Bribir. His works are considered some of the finest works of Croatian baroque sculpture.
Giovanni Simonetti (1817 - 1880) is considered the greatest 19th century sculptor from Rijeka. While still a student, he was honored by numerous Venetian Academy awards. He developed into an excellent portraitist and master of oil on canvas, which is confirmed by his excellent paintings presenting images of the elite of the time. His miniatures and pastel and aquarelle paintings in the neoclassical, Biedermeire or romantic style were also quite successful.
Romolo Venucci (1903 - 1976) is considered one of the greatest painters of the twentieth century. Venucci’s dramatic personal fate overlaps almost entirely with the dramatic fate of the town in which he spent almost all of his life, from his birth to his final days. When he was born, the town was part of Hungary, and when he returned from his studies at the Budapest Academy, it was under Venetian rule, only to become part of former Yugoslavia later on. In spite of these unfavorable historical developments, Venucci never abandoned his town. Sometimes praised, at times disparaged, yet always there, he became a metaphor and myth of Rijeka. This may well be the reason why his legacy is colored by different and seemingly contradictory styles. Venucci reached his artistic peak with works created on the basis of cubist/futuristic experiences.
Vilim Svečnjak (1906 - 1993), a graphic artist and painter. The first stage of Svečnjak's artistic work, mainly dedicated to social motives, attracts special attention. This was in line with the principles of The Earth, a group that Svečnjak belonged to. Although he became a nationally appreciated artist, Svečnjak never forgot the charming region in which he spent his childhood days.
Ivo Kalina (1925 - 1995), a painter from Opatija. He spent the greatest part of his life in Opatija. Many will, therefore, quite easily recognize numerous Mediterranean motives or playful Mediterranean colors in his pastels. Kalina painted with a strong experience in the abstract style, but his open attitude toward instinct, color, signs, gestures and various matter never compromised the typical painting compositions. Kalina did not experiment with new techniques, he was a painter of recognizable temperament, strong strokes and rounded, voluminous lines. Kalina's contagious laughter, the laughter of one of the leading contemporary Croatian artists, still resounds through his paintings.
Oton Gliha (1914 - 1999), a painter who spent most of his time in Omišalj, on the island of Krk. He is not associated with Krk only by residence, but also by the greatest and most interesting segment of his extensive opus. His cycle called Gromače – named after the ancient dry-stone walls decorating the island – is a series of paintings that Gliha had been creating with an almost obsessive passion since the 1950s. The cycle later became the synonym for his artistic work. The entanglement of amazing lines on the bare island surface became a pictorial sign, a hieroglyph passing on the centuries-old codified message of the fusion of seafarers and the island nature. Similarly, the dry-stone walls dappling on the Karst landscape, show a rhythmical compatibility with the old Glagolitic script engraved on a stone tablet.
Mirko Zrinšćak (1953) is a singular figure of the modern generation of Kvarner artists. This artist from Volosko, with an unusual autobiography - he worked as a butcher, seaman, physical worker, night clerk, driver, port worker, waiter – graduated from the Venice Arts Academy and currently lives on top of the Učka mountain, surrounded by the woods, connected to the world by a mountain path, creating one of the most interesting art opuses in Croatia. Zrinšćak collects materials from his environment (wood, glass, wax, bitumen, nails) and shapes these materials, often organic, dating from the prehistoric time and bursting millennial energy, into three-dimensional creations, thus diving into the ‘deep well of the past’. The artist’s acquaintances say that he himself emanates an unruffled, steady energy. He represented Croatia at the Venice Contemporary Art Biennale in 1996, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.