Self-portrait with a Dog, 1910
oil on canvas, 111.7 x 85.7 cm
After having been educated in Zagreb and Gospić, Miroslav Kraljević (1885–1913) enrolled to study law in Vienna in 1906, which he then interrupted in order to study painting. In 1906/07, he started attending the private school of graphic artist Moritz Heymann in Munich, and in May 1907 he was accepted at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich where he studied under Hugo von Habermann and socialized with Josip Račić and Vladimir Becić (the three became known as the Munich Circle). After he graduated, Kraljević returned to Požega in 1910 and painted intensively until 1911, when he moved to Paris, where he enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, which he soon left. He first worked in Meštrović’s studio and then his own in Montparnasse. He published caricatures in the satirical magazine Panurge. In 1912, he staged his first and only solo exhibition at the Ulrich Salon in Zagreb. He died of tuberculosis in 1913.
The emblematic Self-portrait with a Dog, which Kraljević painted in Požega during the final year of his studies in Munich, shows the painter alongside a vital image of the animal in a relationship of obvious affection. The characters are placed in an intimate interior, in the background of which are prominent outlines of Diego Velázquez’s (1599–1660) portrait, as one of Kraljević’s painting role-models. The gaze of the painter and the German shepherd beside him are suggestively aimed at the observer. The composition in dark tonalities still has traditional overtones, although a freer and more energetic brushstroke is already visible with glimpses of specific expressionist energy
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, Zagreb, 2022.