Ljubo Babić
(1890-1974)
A Black Flag, 1916
oil on wood
181×100 cm
MGP

The National Museum of Modern Art thanks the Kallay Collection for the temporary loan of the artwork for display.

Painter and art historian Ljubo Babić (1890-1974) was a key figure in Croatian culture and art. After having graduated from the Transitional Advanced School of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, where he was taught by painter and Professor Menci Clement Crnčić, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He also graduated in art history from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. He taught at the Transitional Advanced School of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, which was later transformed into the Academy of Fine Arts, and was the director of the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb and a member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Ljubo Babić’s A Black Flag painting from 1916 is one of his most significant paintings. He painted it following the death of Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria whilst watching Zagreb draped in black from the first floor of a building on Ilica Street. The discomfort of looking down at a column of people on the street under a dramatically hung black flag is intensified by the use of dark tones. The entire scene is painted as if it has been caught in a whirlpool creating an impression of instability and anxiety. The miniature figures at the bottom of the painting get lost in the menacing, frightening vastness of an unstable, swirling space.

Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

Skip to content