Anton Romako, Girl with a Ball, 1880

Anton Romako
(1832 – 1889)
Girl with a Ball, 1880
oil on canvas

The painting Girl with a Ball, 1880 can be interpreted within the framework of the relatively recent concept of the “swagger portrait,” introduced through the exhibition of British portraits from the 1870s at the Tate Gallery in London in 1992. These portraits often feature a conspicuous display of wealth and status by their subjects from high society. The girl, with her stern and distant gaze, lacks the typical charm and innocence associated with childhood. Her stance, gripping the ball firmly in her left hand and clutching a stick with her right, clearly exudes an air of arrogance and superiority. These characteristics are evident in many of Romako’s portraits.
Anton Romako, an Austrian painter, initially studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, but his talent was not recognised by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793–1865). Consequently, Romako continued his education in Munich under the rigorous guidance of academic professor Wilhelm von Kaulbach (1805–1874). He furthered his studies with travels to Italy (Venice and Rome) and spent time in London, where he likely encountered the English style of portraying the upper classes. Romako’s artistic development was notably influenced by Carl Rahl (1812–1865), particularly in terms of subdued colours and a somewhat rigid approach to portraiture.

Text: Dajana Vlaisavljević, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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