Although for more than a century now the life and work of Ivan Meštrović (1883–1962) have been studied by numerous research scholars, both foreign and domestic, the classical component of his artistic work has never to date been interpreted, contextualised and brought together between the covers of a single work. In this research, this component has been identified formally and thematically in Meštrović’s sculpture, in his architecture, in the drawing, painting and printmaking that also constitute parts of his oeuvre, in his teaching at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts and in his writings about art. The classical component, which is considered to be one of the most important characteristics of the work of this artist and architect, is analysed in three main units, covering in terms of time the first two decades of the 20th century and the interwar and post-war phases. In the introductory part, after the chronological framework of the discussion of Meštrović’s art is established, the frame of reference for the concept of the classical component is addressed. It presumes the internalisation and reinterpretation of patterns of theme and composition from a number of periods of art history. Meant here are Antiquity (the period that extends from the appearance of writing in the 4th millennium BC, via the civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt down to the collapse of the Roman Empire), the Renaissance (in the oeuvre of Meštrović this mainly means invoking the art of Michelangelo Buonarroti) and the Neoclassicist period. Then the definition of terminology is addressed (archaism, the archaic and archaistic style, the influences of the Bronze Age and classicism as against Neoclassicism), as well as the determination of the chief comparative context, which is French modern sculpture. In addition, to reinforce the need for the study – in terms of the framework of the problem given – reference is made to recent domestic and international exhibition and publishing projects, and to texts in which modernism is redefined precisely in relation to the reinterpretation of the classical tradition. In the first two decades, the presence of classical elements is interpreted as one of the tendencies associated with the stylistic formations of Impressionism, Secession, Symbolism and Expressionism. Keeping up with references to classical culture can be discerned at the very beginnings of the artist’s engagement with sculpture, during the Vienna years (1900–1907), when Meštrović quite plainly advanced negative views about the tradition. In connection with the comparative context, the familiarity of Meštrović’s French critical fortune is expanded, that is, the reception of his participation at the most important exhibitions of the time in 1908 and 1909 (Salon d’Automne, Salon de la Société nationale des beaux-arts). The transition from rejection of the classical tradition to invocation of it, from the development of the lexis of (monumental) archaism to (monumental) neo-classicism is observed through a comparison with French sculptors, with Auguste Rodin, Antoine Bourdelle and Aristide Maillol, who had defined the relation of modern sculpture and Ancient and Renaissance art. Here Rodin’s invention of fragmentary sculpture and assemblage needs particularly to be picked out and attention drawn to the fact that Meštrović was the first Croatian sculptor to employ it. One result of the research into the problem was the introduction of the concept of utopian sculpture. It is derived from the conceptual and historical repercussions of the architecture of the sculpture of the Parthenon on European sculpture of the end of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. The concept is interpreted with use of the St Vitus Day Temple (1908–1912) and, pursuant to the stylistic and ideological similarities, it is expanded to several other contemporary examples, mainly of Czech and French artists. The temple itself, and the Kosovo Cycle and the Prince Marko Cycle that belong to it, are described in detail and analysed in order to be able to distinguish the finer features of the appropriation of Ancient sculptural and architectural motifs, elements and symbolic meanings. The second decade of the last century was marked by the sculptor’s consideration of Ancient iconographic templates (Venera pudica) and motifs (women dancing) that enabled Meštrović to develop the theme of the female nude further. He also went on pondering the male nude in two directions – the archaic, heroic monumentalism (the monument Victor, Belgrade, 1913) and the anti-hero (for example, Pensive Youth, London, 1915). Subsequently in the thesis through all the periods and within all the units, there is a continued interpretation of reliefs and medals that prove to be particularly suitable for the depiction of the adoption of classical formal patterns, and for the reception of the then current stylistic tendencies (modernism). In the interwar Zagreb period (1922–1942), the classical component can be identified as the main determinant of the style, as the style itself, then (Neoclassicism). This stylistic tendency is perceptible in the monumental sculptural and architectural productions, which reflect the idea of power and stability, for which an ideal framework can be found in elements taken from Antiquity, the Renaissance and Neoclassicism. In the design of the nudes and works of religious topics, Meštrović often resorts to the repertoire of forms and themes that were established by Michelangelo. The focus of the research is on the importance of the sculptural workshop, its role in the transmission of knowledge, skills and the return to the sources of classical, Mediterranean culture. In the case of Meštrović, the problem of workshop is seen through the short-lasting workshops organised for the purpose of his monumental and architectural projects, then through the activity and formation of young sculptors in his studios, and through the organisation and reform of teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, where he was president and professor. The characteristics of the phenomenon identified as “the return to order” correspond with the thesis of anti-modernism, which he programmatically formulated in essays about Michelangelo (Ivan Meštrović, “Michelangelo (an introduction to a study)” of 1926; Ivan Meštrović Conversations with Michelangelo, 2007; Ivan Meštrović, Michelangelo – essays of an artist about an artist, 2010) and embodied in his own works, which were supposed to be a model for the younger generation of artists and avert them from the destructive influences of the avant-garde. In these essays, he joined the string of French artists who in a similar way had engaged with the Italian sculptor (Rodin, Émile Bernard). It should be pointed out that antimodernism is not necessarily not-modern, that is, outside the currents of the time in which it came into being, which, among other things, is confirmed by Meštrović’s sensitivity to current artistic and political circumstances. In the context of Meštrović ’s reception of Michelangelo, it should be pointed out that in this thesis for the first time his long-lasting engagement with the theme of Moses (1915– 1952) and with portraits of Michelangelo, done in the media of sculpture and drawing is analysed and presented as a whole for the first time. In this part of the thesis, there is discussion of Meštrović’s monumental and architectural oeuvre, to which a particular quantitative impetus was imparted in the third and fourth decades of the century, during which Meštrović won his place as the main state sculptor of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Because of the closeness with political circles (with, for example, the Karađorđević and Masaryk families) and thanks to the success of his international exhibitions he had a large number of commissions for public sculpture in Croatia, other parts of Yugoslavia and in Europe, the USA and South America, Since these projects have been discussed in previous researches, the objective of the current investigation was to establish the typological development (the equestrian monument, for example, the motif of the winged goddess of victory, Nike) and his correlation with the classical tradition (for example, derivations of the architectural vocabulary of the ancient world, the variation of the ancient structure of temple and its adjustment to contemporary needs of a public and a personal purpose). Still, the dissertation includes some unknown facts and material related to the Speer Memorial of Denver, which was never brought to fruition (1934). The discussion is expanded to Croatian and European (Czech and Latvian) production of monuments, by the consideration of the influence of Meštrović’s public sculpture on the formation of the following generation of Croatian and Slovene sculptors (the defining of the Zagreb Sculpture School) and on the reception of Neoclassicism and monumentalism in the public sculpture of central and northern Europe. The last period of Meštrović’s life and work in Rome, Switzerland and the USA (1942– 1962) is seen as a recapitulation of the experience garnered up to that time. Stylistic derivations are recognised as mature Expressionism, realism and self-referential Neoclassicism. The latter inclination is a confirmation of the long duration of the classical tradition that is sketched out in the thematic stratum (mythology, religion) and in compositional self-referential and referential (Michelangelo, Rodin, Bourdelle) figurativeness. The interpretation is expanded to the phenomenon of eclecticism, that is, of the eclecticism of the pastiche, of eclectic monumentalism, which is attributed in this dissertation above all to his architectural designs (the Njegoš Mausoleum at Lovćen, 1924–1974) and to his sculptural productions in all periods. An eclectic approach to the tradition and to his own artistic past is the authentic expression of this artist. Accordingly, he is both polyvalent and complex (the opposition of modernism and anti-modernism) and is not comparable to other Croatian and European sculptors and architects. The thesis also introduces some little known (for instance, two sculptures on the topic of the slave of 1903) or completely unknown productions (for example, the drawing Source of Courage, 1906 (?) published in the journal Český svět in 1909). From the beginning of his career, from his days as a student in Vienna, right until the last, the American, period, it is possible to recognise and track, with complete clarity, the artist’s specific manner of referring to and reinterpreting classical (mythological, for example) subjects, as well as approaches to form and composition (for example, the different versions of the depiction of Aphrodite or Venus – Venera pudica, Aphrodite, Anadyomene and so on), from sources in Antiquity, which necessarily include not only Greek and Roman but also other ancient world traditions, as well as from the Renaissance and Neoclassicism. Hence this research too was oriented to the chronological coverage of stylistic appropriations of classical motifs, through all the phases of the artist’s work, Nevertheless, sometimes, for the sake of comprehensiveness and readability, a given subject will be covered together in a sub-chapter with productions from different periods (for example, the theme of Domagoj’s Archers, Venera Pudica, Moses, Pietà, the historical origins of memorial architecture and so on). Finally, although most of the works from the periods mentioned are universally known and have been presented in previous interpretations, until this research they were not discussed in a single place and contextualised through stylistic treatment and categorisation that covers stylistic and thematic formation, from ancient sources up to Neoclassicism. The research was founded mainly on works and documents kept in the Ivan Meštrović Museums (Meštrović Atelier in Zagreb, Meštrović Gallery in Split) but also on those to be found in other domestic and foreign museums, libraries, state and private archives. Prior research was crucial – that devoted to Ivan Meštrović, anti-modernism and that addressing the international context. Meštrović’s writings about Michelangelo, the publications he possessed, his collection of photographs and reproductions of Ancient and Renaissance art and architecture tell of his continued and dedicated study of historical periods, the lessons of which he deliberately incorporated into his own productions and adjusted to the current moment and visual style. This thesis shows that Meštrović’s classical, multi-faceted identity is a key determinant of his creative work, which cannot without it be interpreted integrally and contextualised within the framework of modern Croatian and European sculpture.