Posted by: Valentino Radman | January 26, 2010

Bela Čikoš Sesija, Robert Auer…and a small scale Medović

Bela Čikoš Sesija (1864 – 1931) was Croatian painter of historical and allegorical scenes at the turn of the 20th century. He studied art at Academy in Vienna (where he won gold and silver medal for his compositions based on Old Testament), and later at Munich Academy.  Čikoš Sesija was one of the first representatives of symbolism and Art Nouveau in Croatia and one of the founders of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He painted in both oils and pastels and tackled various subjects, from portraits done in academic manner to vivid, almost impressionistic landscape  sketches. However, the most significant part of his oeuvre are mythological and religious subjects, drawing inspiration from Homer, Dante , Shakespeare and Goethe. Here is one of my favourite Sesija’s paintings, Mourning of Christ (click for enlargement):

Dante at the Gate of Purgatory is an example of Sesija’s symbolist period:

Robert Auer (1873–1952) was talented violinist, but ultimately he decided to pursue career in visual arts. Much like Sesija, he studied painting in Vienna and later in Munich under Karl von Marr.  In 1896 he participated in the exhibition of Munich Secession. He was professor at Zagreb Academy of Fine Art and, in addition, ran private art school with his wife  (also a painter) Leopoldine Auer-Schmidt. He exhibited at Munich, Copenhagen and Budapest. Auer was great draftsman, and was known for his refined portraits and nudes. This is The Festive day, done in 1897:

The following oil is titled Tryptich, though it is actually not a three-part picture, but one, separated by the frame bars. This photo (like other ones in this entry) was taken at the exhibition of the works of  Croatian artists which studied at Munich Academy at the turn of 20th century. This photo is a bit dark due to the low light in that room.

And, here is a different side of Mato Celestin Medović. I uploaded earlier his large historical composition, but this is something different: a small,  intimate portrait. Actually, I have an impression that Medović was less interested in making a portrait in usual sense, and more in a compassionate depiction of fragility of old age.

I apologize for the glare, but it was unavoidable (this one was hung in the same room as the previous Auer).


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