Artworks in the Collection

Milisava (1958)

Zora Petrović painted portraits of her friends, students, people from her neighborhood, people with high social status but also frequently of people from the street, gypsy women and peasant women whom she convinced to come to her studio. Since she often received commissions to paint portraits, today there is almost no home of distinction in Belgrade without a portrait by Zora Petrović. While painting people, she sought, or rather grabed, the character of the portrayed face, recording precisely on the canvas the current mood of the model as well as the deeper and more durable features which determine a person’s inner being. In the exciting and intriguing portrait of Milisava, a skinny girl, as stiff as a doll, with her head unnaturally raised, children and childhood are represented without any illusions or idealization. This is not the smiling and content child’s face from advertising posters, but the face of a prematurely grown-up young creature with all the characteristics of such a life experience. The emotional aspect of the act of painting is emphasized in the author’s interest in man and his destiny, as well as in the dynamics of the stroke of colour suggesting mobility. The human dimension of Zora Petrović’s painting was achieved through her empathy with the widest variety of models, along with a specific understanding of its social role as a criticism of the idealized image created by myths or the media. Moreover, expressiveness and intensity set her work apart from the boundaries of the local environment and classified it among the most significant artistic achievements.

Zora Petrović