Have you ever thought of your life as a series of phases, periods, experiences?
Does your life seem to compose of years, roles, titles? Did you ever believe you were meant for something, a calling of some sort, a place to go? Did you follow that inner compass?
When I arrived at the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery to see “Vlaho Bukovac – Parisian Period 1877-1893”, I didn’t expect I would be, in a way, stepping into a past period of my own life.
Two worlds – the material, bodily – and that of the spirit, heart, and soul. With Bukovac, it’s evident that these two worlds collide.
My friend commented the artist’s brushstrokes and the source of emotions a single painting spoke to him, and all I could do was nod in agreement.
I wonder how Bukovac managed to make his gold shine so brightly? How did he master coloring black and white so radiantly that you could almost touch the garments and briefly enter his world?
I asked myself: how did he feel as a Croat in Paris? A part of him must have been so artistically stimulated, developing rapidly, while the other – I imagine – must have longed for home.
“Look at this little girl! She simultaneously carries so much pride, dignity, yet modesty… Look at the single coin and flower on the ground, and her bright-colored garments…” my friend remarks.
“She’s simply beautiful. Notice her bare, overworked feet – they seem to carry all the weight of patriarchy, tradition, poverty…” I reply.
After all of the artist’s images of fame and fortune, beauty and power, lust and decadence, nature and heritage, after all the glistening, worldly, material… The exhibition culminates with — Jesus.
The 3 x 4,4-meter oil on canvas named “Isus, prijatelj malenih”, or “Jesus, Friend of the Children” was carefully transported from the Franciscan monastery in Tomislavgrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina to Zagreb’s Upper Town for its premier display in Croatia.
The most epic painting of the entire exhibition calls upon the smallest, most vulnerable, powerless, innocent. What an ending! I loved it.
A bit about Vlaho Bukovac:
– born in Cavtat near Dubrovnik in 1855 to father of Italian origin and Croatian mother
– his work comprises about 400 portraits plus over 150 other paintings and compositions
– he was praised with the Mention Honorable for “Jesus, Friend of the Children” at the Paris Salon in 1888
Info: Croatian History