Artworks in the Collection

Nadežda PETROVIĆ
Old Man by the Window (1906)


Unlike the many figures of Serbian peasant men and women whom she habitually painted outdoors, usually without any effort to define the background, Nadežda placed the figure of the old man in the interior. This leads us to believe that he could be a person from an urban environment, probably Belgrade, and also from the painter’s immediate surroundings, her family or the neighborhood. Approaching the realization of the portrait in her specific way and dealing with the psychological values of the character, conveyed in an expressionist manner, the artist lets the motif itself become the factor that determines the specific manner of visual realization. Concentrating on the face of the subject, Nadežda nonetheless sees no details, but instead focuses her attention on his physiognomy in an attempt to capture his basic psychological traits. She achieves this by applying paint with broad paintbrush in swift, rough, nervous strokes which follow the form. Like in many other similar portraits, the eyes represent the most prominent part of the face: huge black dots accentuated by prominent cheekbones. The white colour which emphasizes the light-dark contrast in the palette made up of orange, red, green and yellow is visible in the coloured strokes of the head on a dark torso, lit up by the light background. This play of light adds to the overall expressive charge of the composition. The prominently calm air of the sitter represents a kind of contrast to the background, a static pose set against the dynamic realization of the painting. The work was purchased from Ljubica Luković by Pavle Beljanski in 1956.

Nadežda Petrović