A Geese Keeper on the Sava River, 1880-1881
oil on canvas
Known as a painter of compositions of what is called Beautified Realism, Nikola Mašić (1852-1902) started his education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 1872, but after having become dissatisfied with its programme, he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Having been taught composition by Alexander Wagner, Mašić acquired the knowledge needed to work on large-scale figurative compositions. He had an affinity for the painting style of Wilhelm Lindenschmit the Younger, a painter of historical compositions whose palette became lighter over time under the influence of the Munich School. He spent the summer of 1874 in Rome and its surroundings wanting to become familiar with the monuments of antiquity at first hand, which was to help him paint his future figurative compositions. However, the sketches and studies that he did at the time show his fascination with the atmosphere and light of the Mediterranean. During his stays in Croatia, he painted in Posavina. In 1878 he attended the Paris World’s Fair, where he saw painter Marià Fortuny’s Japonisme. Being an acclaimed painter, in 1879 he was given a studio in Munich, travelled around Europe and followed fine art events. Due to vision impairment, he returned in 1884 to Zagreb, where he first worked as a drawing teacher at the School of Crafts, and where in 1894 he was appointed as director of the Strossmayer Gallery.
Text: Dajana Vlaisavljević, musum 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