Artworks in the Collection

Young Woman (1958)

The bust is one of the few pieces where the sculptor marked, along with his signature, the date of its creation, which is significant for the placing of this piece within the entire opus, but also as a confirmation that Pavle Beljanski acquired the sculpture after he had donated his collection, and definitely before the Memorial Collection was opened to the public in 1961. It is a bronze casting of a plaster model (today in the Stijović Legacy in the Belgrade City Museum), which Beljanski got cast with Stijović’s permission; the other casting is kept in the sculptor’s legacy in Podgorica. Originally with a green patina, today it has a dark gray, almost black patina which emphasizes the austere simplicity of the portrait. The sculpture represents the portrait of Mutapović’s daughter, who, according to Stijović’s words, “had an interesting little head.” It belongs to a group of mainly female portraits, which the author did of his own choice, without the obligation to achieve physical resemblance, with the freedom to emphasize the characteristics of her physiognomy in his own particular idiom. In the process, he used extreme stylization, with a mere indication of the face’s geography, determined more closely by the barely noticeable smile, which seems to radiate from its entire surface. Framed and also emphasized by the stylized hairstyle, with straight shoulder-length locks, the face of the young woman is indicative of Stijović’s return to ancient Egyptian sculpture. “I made her look a little as if she were Egyptian,” he said. His attention was preoccupied by her radiant smile, enigmatic and unfathomable like that of the Sphinx. The bronze cast of the same sculpture entitled Portrait of a Girl is kept in the “Risto Stijović” Gallery in Podgorica. Young Woman was also displayed at the exhibition Risto Stijović in 2006 in The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection, when a monograph about this artist was published.

Risto Stijović