My Studio, 1938
oil on canvas,
58 x 70 cm
The painting My Studio represents Emanuel Vidović’s most intimate phase. Vidović did not stop painting even later in life, moreover this is when he discovered a new world of inspiration inside his one-room studio. The more individual and intimate space of the interior took precedence over the vedute of Split, Venice and Chioggia. The bohemian or “creative disorder” that we find in Vidović’s studio paintings is the focus and starting point from which the artist sets out to create a scene. A chest of drawers with the Empire Style clock, the painting of a “Baroque Madonna”, easels, paper flowers are always arranged in such a way as to enhance the impression of spatiality, while each of the elements in the studio is carefully selected and positioned. The horror vacui of sorts, of the artist’s studio provides him with the opportunity to create different compositional and colour versions of one and the same space.
Emanuel Vidović (1870-1953) was born in Split. In 1887, he took the entrance exam at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice where he enrolled to study sculpture. Disappointed with the conservative approach of “old professors” he abandoned his studies and turned instead to the medium of painting and started painting the vedute of Venetian canals. After having left Venice, he moves to Milan where he spent time at the “Famiglia Artistica” society and perfects his painting skills. In 1901, he organised his first exhibition at the foyer of the Split theatre. Vidović became widely known to the Croatian public after the “Jubilee exhibition of the Art Society” in Zagreb in 1905, during which Emperor Franz Joseph I bought one, and Viceroy Pejačević bought two of his paintings. As early as next year, he staged exhibitions in Sophia, London and Milan. After two years living between Milan and Chioggia, he returns to his native Split in 1907, where he would remain for the rest of his life. In 1909, he started working as a professor of drawing at the Crafts School in Split. He painted the port of Split and city streets, as well as Trogir, where he spent every autumn from 1930 onwards. From 1946 onwards, he exhibited his works at all major exhibitions of Croatian art in Zagreb, Ljubljana and Belgrade, while his retrospective exhibition was held in 1952 at the Modern Gallery (today the National Museum of Modern Art) in Zagreb.
Text: Zlatko Tot, trainee curator © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb