Zagorje Landscape (November), 1937
oil on canvas
62.2 x 75.6 cm
The painting Zagorje Landscape (November) is Ljubo Babić’s typical patriotic painting metaphor from the 1930s. Striving for ‘our expression’ as the foundation for building national consciousness, but also trying to promote the specificities of our culture on the contemporary Mittel European scene, in the cycle My Native Land, Ljubo Babić proudly presents the spatial matrix of the region he hails from. Viewing the undulating landscape and fragmented fields from above, Babić ‘portrays’ the specific structures of the northern Croatian landscape in tonal gradations. His artistic idealisation and aesthetics, closely connected to the bourgeoisie, are the antipodes to the complex socio-political situation, but also the current ideology of the ‘Earth’ Group.
Ljubo Babić graduated from the College of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, and the Academy in Munich. He later studied in Paris, and obtained a degree in art history in Zagreb in 1932. As a painter, set and costume designer, graphic artist, art pedagogue and critic, art historian, museologist, writer and editor, he played a pivotal role in Croatia’s 20th century culture and art. He participated in the founding of the Croatian Spring Salon, the Independent Group of Artists, the Group of Three and Croatian Artists. As the first curator of the National Museum of Modern Art (NMMU), he authored the first permanent exhibition set-up of the NMMU that represented the complex development of 19th and 20th century art in Croatia, for which purpose the building that today houses the national museum was fully renovated.
Text: Lada Bošnjak Velagić, senior curator of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb