Vlaho Bukovac and Alexandre Cabanel: A Historical Meeting Of Student And Teacher
Oct 3 - Jan 6 2019
Trg kralja Tomislava 22
Arguably the finest canvas-dauber that Croatia ever produced, Vlaho Bukovac (1855-1922) has a particular association with Zagreb’s Art Pavilion, having been one of the key initiators of its construction back in 1898. Before becoming the Croatian art world’s biggest cheese Bukovac had studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris and one of his favourite teachers had been Alexandre Cabanel, one of France’s leading nineteenth-century academic painters. The novel idea behind this exhibition is to put pupil and teacher together – which bits of Cabanel rubbed off on Bukovac, and in what way did Bukovac exceed the limitations of the French nineteenth-century academic painting, of which Cabanel was a prime exponent? There is of course a danger that putting Cabanel and Bukovac together puts rather too much focus on how behind-the-times both of them were. A painter of historical, mythical and allegorical scenes, frequently with melodramatic or sentimental content, Cabanel fell out of fashion after the emergence of the impressionists and the emergence of modernism. Indeed it is Bukovac, who as both a subtle portraitist and an expressive symbolist who later adapted elements of post-impressionism, emerges as the better painter.