Small World (diptych), 1904
oil on canvas
75 x 106.5 cm
In 1892, during his formative period, Emanuel Vidović briefly leaves Venice and Chioggia and moves to a completely different ambience of the industrial metropolis of Milan, which was dominated by modernist progressive tendencies. There, the painter from Split supports himself by doing restoration works and making drawings for the furniture industry. Every evening he would go to the Famiglia Artistica society in Milan to practice painting nudes and costumes. Among the more significant events of Vidović’s Milan period, we should point out his participation in exhibitions Esposizioni Riunite, 1894 and Esposizione Permanente, 1895 where he exhibits paintings depicting the life of Venetian fishermen. As part of the exhibition Esposizioni Riunite, Vidović showcases the painting Venezia peschereccia, as Duško Kečkemet noted, in “a prominent hall, next to two paintings by Segantini”, and alongside paintings of Ettore Tito and Angelo Dall'Oca Bianca. In October 1895, Vidović returned to his native Split, where he assumed the role of a central, unifying figure in Dalmatian art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He distinguished himself with the quality of painting, exhibition activity and organization of a wide variety of cultural events. He remained connected to the Italian milieu throughout his life, with regular visits to the fortuitous Chioggia and the Venice Biennale exhibitions.
The painting Small World from 1904 is in many ways specific and occupies a special and contiguous position in Vidović’s oeuvre, opening the chapter of his peculiar symbolist landscapes. Unlike Vidović’s later “monochromes”, Small World is his only painting that shows an unambiguous connection with Giovanni Segantini’s painting. It was made by applying the divisionism technique literally, with undulating brushstrokes that create a vibrant painting surface.
Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, senior curator of the National Museum of Modern Art© National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Foto: Goran Vranić©National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb