Ljubo Babić, Mother, 1912

Ljubo Babić
Mother, 1912
tempera on wood, 100 x 40 cm
MG-3426

Painter and art historian Ljubo Babić (1890-1974) was a key figure in Croatian culture and art. After having graduated from the Provisional College of Arts and Fine Crafts in Zagreb, where he was taught by Menci Clement Crnčić, he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He also obtained a degree in art history from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. He taught at the Provisional College of Arts and Fine Crafts in Zagreb, which was later transformed into the Academy of Fine Arts, and was the director of the Modern Gallery (today the National Museum of Modern Art) in Zagreb and a member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts.
In the emphatically vertical format of the painting Mother, an upright figure of an old woman is set against a golden background, in the Art Nouveau style, across its entire height. Her face is framed by flowing grey, straight hair that reaches below the shoulders. Her eyes are closed and the arms are painted in a symmetrical pose with elbows bent and open palms at shoulder height framing her face. The dress also appears conspicuously symmetrical, with linear, geometric art nouveau ornamentation, characteristic of the “Medulić” Group and their monumentalism, which, in parallel with hints of Expressionism, characterised the exhibitions of the Croatian Spring Salon during the period from 1916–1919.

Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, museum advisor of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, 2022

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