Artworks in the Collection

At the Spring (1906)

“It is as if Serbia had opened up in front of her, and Nadežda embraced it with all the richness of her colouristic palette. With the enthusiasm of a fanatic enamored with the countryside of her homeland, she covered the canvas with strong and bold strokes, with voluptuous paste and colour harmonies never before seen in these parts. They were radiant with the forceful authentic temperament of an inspired colourist.” These few sentences by Katarina Ambrozić contain in concentrated form the painter’s vision of nature and man in the period when she worked in Resnik and Sićevo (1903–1907). One of the views is represented by figures in a landscape – peasant men and women performing their everyday tasks: reaping, threshing, resting in front of their houses, going to the well. Small formats are particularly prominent in the corpus of the first Serbian period, landscapes with a few sketchy figures, oil on cardboard, painted directly “with only a few colours and Nadežda’s dominant three-part melody: red, blue, yellow.” It was these pieces that the painter Branko Popović had in mind, seeing in them a kind of painting that was “inspired and cheerful in a Dionysian way.” Wishing to achieve a visual perfection, Nadežda had the habit of repeating the motif until she got it exactly right, which was the case with the subject of the village well, repeated several times (in 1904, 1906 and 1907). The 1906 cardboard best reflects the poetics of the end of that period in the artist’s work. As she often did, Nadežda utilized the winding village stream to define space and women from the village gather to take up a central position, but they are more like hurriedly and pastosely marked silhouettes than clear and substantial figures. Beljanski bought the painting in 1956 from the artist’s sister, Mica Mišković.

Nadežda Petrović