(1883 – 1939)
Dog Tracking, 1912.
24 x 40 x 17.5 cm
Branislav Dešković attended the advanced course of the Italian sculptor Antonio Dal Zòtto at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice (1903-1905). He stayed briefly in Vienna, and in 1907 he moved to Paris, where he regularly exhibited at the Salons (1908-1921).
Dešković’s earliest works were influenced by Academicism and the Italian Verists. During his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, he sculpted a series of realist portrait reliefs, such as the Portrait of a Bearded Man from 1904. Whenever he travelled to Croatia, he modelled sculptures under the influence of the patriotic ideology, and in the spirit of Art Nouveau and stylised monumentalism. After having led a bohemian lifestyle and once his health started deteriorating, in 1921 he settled down in Split.
He is best known for his dynamic sculptures of hunting dogs modelled as freestanding sculptures and in typical poses, and is considered to be the most prominent animalist in Croatian modern sculpture. He modelled them under the influence of Rodin’s sculpture, in his very own version of Impressionism.
Dešković was a passionate hunter and, as a connoisseur of animals, he modelled hunting dogs performing different tasks and in various poses. A Dog Tracking is a perfect impression of a hunting dog frozen in action. The entire elongated body of the hunting dog is nervously tense and focused on its primary task.
Text: Tatijana Gareljić, museum consultant 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