The Passage to Eternity, 1918
oil on canvas
Painter Gabrijel Jurkić (1886-1974) studied painting in Zagreb (at painters Bela Čikoš Sesija and Menci Clement Crnčić’s private art school, and the College of Arts and Crafts) and in Vienna at the Academy of Fine Arts, and attended Polish painter Kazimierz Pochwalski’s master classes. His early painting oeuvre features the aesthetics of Symbolism and is evidently influenced by the work of the Italian painter Giovanni Segantini, while his later paintings are closer to Realism and plein-air painting bathed in sunshine. He lived and worked in Sarajevo, after which he moved to the Gorica Franciscan Monastery in Livno.
Under a vast starry sky, the night landscape of a flower meadow features a winged angel in white at the foot of a lit stone staircase. All the elements of Gabriel Jurkić’s The Passage to Eternity painting from 1918 validate the programme of European Symbolism: his choice of theme, his divisional technique of elongated brushstrokes, his use of unclear, mixed hues of colour, and his use of a suggestive, dramatic contrast between light and dark.
The purchase of the painting for the Collection of the National Museum of Modern Art was made possible by a donation from the Adris Foundation.
Text: Ivana Rončević Elezović, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb