Artworks in the Collection

Two Nudes (1958)

One of the changes noticeable in Zora Petrović’s opus was the gradual shift in her interest from the individual woman, accurately depicted in the portraits and nudes painted in the manner of portraits from the thirties, towards the female in general. Her paintings made after 1957 show large bodies of mature women with generalized features, devoid of individuality, eroticism or any personal context, usually standing or lying down turned frontally towards the observer. Marked by life, passive and static, these bodies are reduced to symbols. In paintings such as Two Nudes, the large female figures take up almost the entire surface of the canvas with their mass, which reduces the surrounding space to a minimum. They are separated from the context by a broad outline which functions in the painting as an independent sign. The continuous increase in the size of the motif was the result of an increasing closeness to the model, where careful scrutiny and observation would turn into a genuine obsession with watching. “This relationship with the theme finally pulled down the barrier in Zora Petrović’s art, the distance the portrayed model used to put between the painting and the feeling of life itself […] She now condenses her thought almost to some final existential experiences, deliberately disregarding the rules of form building during her work; so that the colour on the canvas spreads freely, without a strictly determined object motivation and the proportions of the figure assume the shapes which give meaning to her entire painting, the characteristics of a conscious and almost planned anti-aestheticism”, wrote Ješa Denegri about the paintings from this period.

Zora Petrović