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Zoraida Demori-Staničić ; Hrvatski restauratorski zavod, Odjel u Splitu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 3.639 Kb


str. 187-197

preuzimanja: 374


Puni tekst: engleski pdf 3.639 Kb


str. 187-197

preuzimanja: 639



In Ljubljana there is a picture of the Virgin and Child, privately owned, the stylistic characteristics of which, in spite of the damage and overpainting, suggest the Renaissance painting of Dubrovnik. It is painted in tempera technique with original gilding on lime-wood panels. It shows the figure, down to the waist, of the Virgin who, with the Child in her lap, is sitting in front of a high curtain of gold brocade, which almost covers the whole of the background, and which is held at the top by two angels. The Virgin is dressed in the traditional blue cloak
that covers the head; it is fastened with a gold clasp and decorated with gold ribbon adorned with large gold pomegranate flowers. The Virgin has laid the naked Jesus on her knees, covering him with a transparent veil. Jesus grasps at the finch that she holds in her left hand. The Madonna and Jesus are flanked by hovering adoring angels superimposed in semi-profile in three registers. Their figures are engraved with fine goldsmith’s tools into the gilt background and are
hardly discernible. The poor condition of this painting, without any clear provenance, which necessarily requires conservation treatment, does not however make it impossible to discern the similarities with the Virgins of the Kotor-Dubrovnik painter Lovro Dobričević. A number of details tend to suggest this: the composition, the typology of the Virgin, the refinement of the forms and the drapery stylisation patterns.
The Ljubljana picture shows correspondences with paintings ascribed to Dobričević of the Virgin and Child from La Spezia, the Jandolo Collection in Rome and the Brajčin Collection in Komiža, the Academy Gallery in Venice, where there is also a Nativity. The painter uses short dark shading; light falls from the left hand with strong gleams on the incarnadine, leaving parts in the shadow. The transparency of the diaphanous veil of Jesus can be compared with that at Danče or the
Brajčin Virgin. And yet in spite of all the details that tell of Dobričević, in the realisation the Ljubljana picture never attains the refinement and subtlety of the Virgin and Child polyptych at Danče or the Ludlow Annunciation, which are in quality terms the peak of his painting. In it, unfortunately, all the glazing that gives the final painterly effect has been lost, and the dark underpainting from which the colour has gone gives the impression of harsh shadows. In particularly the little Jesus
has a very unattractively and awkwardly painted face, which is quite at odds with the well painted body, skilfully located within the curve of the Virgin’s lap. The boy’s nose is so large that it gives the face practically an aged appearance; the face of the Ljubljana Jesus recalls the mature faces of the saints, particularly of the St Peter from the Dubrovnik Dominicans’ polyptych. The iconographic type of the Virgin adoring the naked Child is a commonplace in the art of the quattrocento. Unlike the earlier depictions, the unclothed Jesus is sitting, standing or lying in the mother’s lap, and the playful and attractive childish body, in its various poses and compositions, among which the Holy Conversation is particularly to the fore, visualises the Incarnation. But the Ljubljana
painting still has a trecento devotional structure, inheriting from the earlier Gothic painting and from icon painting the traditional clothing, symbols and adoring angels. In combination with the known symbolism of the goldfinch, the curtain behind the principal figures is particularly emphatic. The curtain, with the throne or the rose garden, is a dominant element of the Mariological topics of the Middle Ages. The symbol of the cortina is not unknown: Mary, bearing Jesus, herself
becomes a divine temple, and the curtain symbolises her body – arca Dei. In this, as in other paintings from his oeuvre, Dobričević does not appear as a painter of narratives, but remains an artist of devotional paintings. He synthesises trecento decorum and quattrocento naturalism. The painting of Virgin and Child from Ljubljana really is a combination of trecento composition and quattrocento theology and form. It is perhaps even more Gothic than other paintings ascribed to Dobričević. The details of his paintings in which Gothic and Renaissance styles merge are a particularly interesting problem within this painter’s oeuvre. The influences of quattrocento painters Antonio Vivarini, Vittore Crivelli and Jacoppo Bellini in the shaping and the typology of face and robes, the hieratic perspective, the letters and golden background
were long since remarked in print. Also known is the very crucial fact that in the Italianised version of his name, Lorenzo di Cattaro, Dobričević is mentioned in 1444 in Venice as being closely connected with the prime figure of the painting of the international Gothic, Michele Giambono. It is the demarcation of Gothic and Renaissance elements that are basic for the dating of Dobričević’s paintings. Although before the conservation treatment it is unrewarding to prejudge the possible answers, the Ljubljana painting, on the basis of the recycled elements of the Dubrovnik Dominican polyptych (1448) and the Annunciation of Ludlow, and the polyptych of the Franciscan church in Dubrovnik (1455-1458) must be dated to the first half of the 1440s.

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