And Light Bathed the Space

architect Ivan Meštrović
project The Račić Family Mausoleum, Cavtat, Croatia
written by Irena Kraševac


The chapel of Our Lady of Angels, which is the mausoleum of the Račić family, is the first completed building of Ivan Meštrović from 1921. A decade earlier, Meštrović had made a design and a model of the St. Vitus’ Day memorial temple from which for this work, he took only the octagonal shape of the central room and the external structure of the dome. The chapel is situated on top of the peninsula sheltering the town of Cavtat. It replaced the cemetery chapel of St. Rocco, the patron saint of the town. The mausoleum’s location and the whiteness of its surfaces make it a landmark of Župa Dubrovačka. The ultimate purity of its form sets the chapel unobtrusively, yet assertively, into the cultured coastal landscape. Meštrović puts the emphasis on the building material, stone from Brač, as an expression of his concept that the colour of the building must come from the building material. He particularly observes this principle with the exterior surface of the walls, whose whiteness assumes here a symbolic value.