oil on wood
78 x 81.2 cm
In several depictions of Golgotha from 1917, Ljubo Babić emphasises the universal theme of general disintegration and chaos with emptiness in the centre of the scene and pronounced light contrasts. Babić expands on the expressionist breakthrough of the composition and colourway in Kraljević’s Golgotha from 1912, and creates a suggestive vision of general doom. The painting is dominated by a sinister supernatural ambience that threatens to swallow the final scene of Christ’s Passion deep in the background.
Ljubo Babić attended secondary art school in Zagreb, and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He continued his studies in Paris, and he graduated 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, Ljubo Babić was an epochal figure in the 20th century Croatian culture and art. He participated in the foundation of the Croatian Spring Salon, the Independent Group of Artists, Group of Four, Group of Three, Group of Croatian Artists and Croatian Artists. As the first curator of the Modern Gallery (today the National Museum of Modern Art), he was the author of its first permanent display shown in 1920 in the Museum of Arts and Crafts. In 1948, he designed the first display of the National Museum of Modern Art’s collection, which represents the complex development of 19th and 20th century Croatian art, in the building in which the museum still operates today.
Text: Lada Bošnjak Velagić, senior curator of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Pgoto: Gopran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022