Petar Smajić
(1910-1985)
Lovers / Adam and Eve, 1936
wood
MG-4453

Petar Smajić was a self-taught Croatian Naive sculptor. He carved in wood themes from everyday life, biblical scenes and symbolic compositions in pure and clear forms. He exhibited his work with the Earth Association of Artists as a guest exhibitor and was a founding member of the Naive Sculptors’ Colony in Ernestinovo, which has been active since 1973. Solo exhibitions of his work were set up in Osijek, Split and Zagreb.

Smajić modelled in wood static and flat human figures, heads, animals and symbolic figurative compositions featuring his unique and unusual feeling for the existential and the anecdotal. During his stay in Dalmatia, he sculpted small statues featuring stylised details, a good example of which is his Lovers / Adam and Eve sculpture from 1936. After he returned to Slavonia in 1941, his focus shifted towards static figures of reduced volume (e.g., Eva, post-1954).

During what is referred to as Smajić’s Dalmatian period when his artistic creation of refined simplicity and pure form reached its peak, this self-taught artist neared the postulates of Modernism. Smajić’s sublime figurative composition of Lovers / Adam and Eve of a rudimentary form from his early Dalmatian period of woodcarvings presents two tightly modelled figures of a peasant couple nestling their heads, shoulders and chests against one another. Adam’s left arm is wrapped around Eve’s neck and they both radiate archaic beauty.

Text: Tatijana Gareljić, 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

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