Study for Dante’s “Paradise”, 1899
oil on canvas, 80.5 x 27.2 cm
Vlaho Bukovac (1855–1922) was one of the key figures of Modern art and culture in Croatia. He was educated in Paris and is known for his international career (France, England, the USA, Vienna, the Czech Republic). In terms of style, Bukovac’s painting ranges from Academic Realism of the period of the so-called Colourful School of Zagreb to a peculiar version of Symbolism in the portraits and nudes created during the last twenty years of his life when he taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.
Painted in Cavtat in 1899 with free and visible brushstrokes and bright colourway with pronounced ruddy accents, Study for Dante’s “Paradise” shows Bukovac experimenting with the symbolist approach to painting. Themes from literature, especially Dante, are an established choice of European Symbolism. Subtly interpreted, this artistic style will become dominant in Bukovac’s oeuvre during the last twenty years of the painter’s life in a striking version of his Prague Divisionism.
Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, museum consultant © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022