Artworks in the Collection

Zora PETROVIĆ
After the Harvest (1957)


“The main thing I have been searching for these thirty-five years was to express everything in a colouristic manner, for each painting to have its separate colour, its own expression and full plasticity of all visual elements.” Zora Petrović’s artistic credo seems to have materialized in the painting After the Harvest. The canvas is dominated by the contrast between the large, restless and cold area of light grayishwhite, bluish and pale yellow nuances of the peasant woman’s dress and the intensely coloured orange and blue indeterminable surroundings she is situated in. The black cat next to her, outlined with the red shade of the rug the woman is sitting on, recalls Manet’s Olympia. It leads further on to Titian’s Venus of Urbino, which Manet parodied in a way in his painting by stressing the tendency of modern art towards curiosity about everyday life. The cat on Zora Petrović’s painting represents a quotation through which a new, different way of looking at a woman is inscribed among the wellknown examples from art history. If, in fact, Titian’s luxuriously nude goddess turned into a liberated young Parisian girl in Manet’s painting, in Zora Petrović’s painting she is depicted as a stocky peasant woman with a plain face and a covered body, situated in a space which is both a house and a field. Such representation brings up a woman from the social outskirts and does not have much similarity with the idealized erotic body. Instead, the beauty of the ordinary and mundane affirms the existing reality. Such a painting embodies the efforts of Zora Petrović towards originality in art in the sense of favouring themes and motifs closer to nature and as such older and truer than those mediated by artistic conventions and culture.

Zora Petrović