Light in the Darkness of World War One, National Museum of Serbia

This exhibition brings back from obscurity the work of four Serbian impressionist painters, whose destinies were entangled by war. It shows eighty-eight paintings by three men, Milan Milanović (1876-1946), Mališa Glišić (1886-1916) Košta Miličević (1877-1920), and one woman, Nadežda Petrović (1873-1915), who started their training in Belgrade, moved to art school in Munich and then continued to absorb modernist tendencies in Paris, Rome, Prague or Vienna. But only one survived. Three died from the complications of typhoid fever; Milanović was left so deaf and nerve wracked that he gave up painting for teaching, becoming a professor at the Art School in Belgrade.

The majority of works in the exhibition date to the war years, which in this region started in 1907. They painted the places where they found themselves now, far from the cosmopolitan urban centres as an artist-nurse, or as an artist-soldier. Barbizon, impressionist or fauve techniques were redirected to depict local subjects: orthodox monasteries, stretches of the Danube or the arid sun-drenched landscapes of Macedonia, Dalmatia, Corfu or Greece. Furthermore, according to the curator Ljubica Miljković, the transposition of the most newly minted of these painterly techniques – explosive colour, used straight from the tube in thick impastos to produce powerful effects of light, water, movement or reflection, now assumed an overt political dimension, as the pictorial manifestation of an ‘ideal of freedom’. Until 10th September 2014. See www.narodnimuzej.rs

Nadežda Petrovic, Barges at the Sava, 1907

Nadežda Petrovic, Barges at the Sava, 1907

Mališa Glisić, Italian Landscape - Terracina, 1912

Mališa Glisić, Italian Landscape – Terracina, 1912

Košta Miličević, Danube Harbour, 1908

Košta Miličević, Danube Harbour, 1908

photo 3

 

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