Emanuel Vidović
Angelus, 1906/07
oil on canvas
945×1385 mm

After having been given lessons in painting in Split by painter and builder Emil Vecchietti, Emanuel Vidović (1870-1953) enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice in 1887, which, formally, he never finished. Between 1892 and 1895, he stayed in Milan, where he exhibited paintings on the theme of Venice’s fishing life at the Esposizioni Riunite in 1894 and at the Esposizione Permanente in 1895. His stays in Chioggia, a picturesque fishing village near Venice, were a particularly significant formative influence on him as a painter, a theme he kept on returning to throughout his life. His formative period was also affected by Venetian landscape painters, such as Guglielmo Ciardi, and by en plein air painting under the influence of the Macchiaioli, a group of Tuscan artists who painted using alla macchia (spotty) brush strokes with an emphasis on the relationship between light and shade, a style of painting which peaked in the period between 1854 and 1860. Vidović created his sunset landscapes in parallel with his en plein air paintings. After having taken a brief divisive Segantinian turn that resulted in his Small World diptych in 1904, in the period between 1906 and 1920 Vidović’s painting is characterised by landscape reduction achieved by stylisation and using different shades of a single colour with a touch of black, which highlights the symbolic quality of his paintings.
These features are discernible in Angelus, his paradigmatic painting from 1906/07 painted in shades of red. Being a Christian iconography motif, Angelus is rich in sacral, spiritual meanings, and was well-suited for Vidović’s symbolic expression. The painting’s reduced landscape as a metaphor for the state of the soul with Böcklinesque outlines of a ship on water and of a coastline (an island) in the background points to the universal imagery of European Symbolism.

Tekst: Ivana Rončević Elezović, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb © National Museum of Modern Art Zagreb
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art Zagreb

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