oil on canvas
28 x 36.5 cm
After having graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1926 (class of Ljubo Babić), Parać won a scholarship and went to study in Paris (1929-31) with a renowned teacher and Cubist painter André Lhote. Cubist tendences had minimal impact on the young and talented painter, who embodied his modus operandi in the manner of the great French painters of the late 19th c. (Claude Monet, Pierre Renoir). The painting Cantaloupe belongs to a series of still lifes that Parać painted during the 1930s (the painting Mullet on a Plate belongs to the same series). Impressionist and post-impressionist influence is visible in the way the artist treats the scene. Although static and captured in the moment, the scene is vibrant. Irregular brush strokes and the use of “coloured spots” technique create the impression of permeation of daylight and artificial light (colouristically brighter parts of the painting). At the same time, the boundary between the foreground of the composition (table) and the background (wall of the room) is blurred, and the realistic view of the room turns into a complete impression. The cantaloupe itself, as the main element of the composition, is presented realistically, without any stylistic embellishment. In 1935, Parać went to Rome to learn the basics of fresco painting at the Academia di Belle Arti. Having finished his training in Rome, he returned to his native land where he painted frescoes in the churches in Klis and Solin. He substituted the life of a Dalmatian farm labourer with monumental and “epic” frescoes with biblical themes. He worked as a professor at the Academy in Zagreb from 1950 to 1972. He became a full member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts (today, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) in 1973. In addition to being a painter, he was also a graphic artist and a set designer. He received the “Vladimir Nazor” Lifetime Achievement Award in 1975.
Text: Zlatko Tot, Intern curator © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Foto: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb