Posted by: Valentino Radman | May 4, 2012

Great Book of Animal Portraits

Svjetlan Junaković is a Croatian visual artist known for his children’s books illustrations. He has won many international prizes, including, in 2001, the »Gold Badge« of the Biennial of Illustration in Bratislava. In 2008 he was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen-Award by the Croatian IBBY section. His children’s book Great Book of Animal Portraits won both the Bologna- Razzia Award in the fiction category and the Premio Andersen for best picture book in 2008.

Junaković was born in Zagreb in 1961. He graduated from the Brera Academy in Milan in 1985 where he specialized in sculpture. He works as a painter, sculptor, illustrator and graphic designer and is also a lecturer in illustration at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and the International School in Sarmede in Italy.

At the outset of his career, Svjetlan Junaković mainly produced classic illustrations for various publishers, including »Kroko Kanal« (2003). In recent years, however, he has begun to attract attention through his extraordinary book designs.

His portrait book, mentioned above, Great Book of Animal Portraits (“The Great Book of Animal Portraits”, 2007) was met with wide acclaim. The collection and adaptation of twenty-six world-famous portraits from the early Renaissance to the early nineteenth century plays consciously with the universal fame of the pictures. By replacing the human figures with animals, the illustrator alters the observer’s view and, through subtle humour, develops new angles and perspectives on familiar subjects. The original painting is indirectly presented via the commentaries on each page. The challenge is to re-discover hidden nuances of meaning and context behind the familiar, canonical and occasionally stereotypical perceptions of the content of the painting.  Here are several reproductions from the book.




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