Artworks in the Collection

Head of a Young Woman (1909)

In the years spent at the Arts and Crafts School, and in compliance with school curriculum, portraits were the most frequent theme of Vidosava’s oil paintings. Turning to models from her surroundings, she mainly portrayed members of her family and her friends, typical middle-class representatives of the time. Still, a series of portraits of school models also appeared as a separate whole. Dressed more simply and placed in a different context, they clearly differ from the representative portraits of the bourgeois elite. Judging by the model and her clothes, the Head of a Young Woman belongs to the latter group. This unsigned piece dates back to 1909, es testified by Vidosava’s sister, Milica Rakić. It is a portrait of a girl with her eyes closed and with a scarf on her head. Although the drawn outline is clearly noticeable, there is a visible softening and a greater freedom compared to her earlier works. The colours are strong, but still reduced in number: the red background, the white clothes and the yellowish colour of the complexion. Colouristic accents appear on the face as a new feature: red cheeks and white dots of light on the nose and mouth, which lend the painting a more cheerful character. Apart from the improvement in the use of colour, there is also a detectable step forward in the brushstrokes. They are no longer smooth and homogenous, but clearly visible and much more forceful than before, which adds to the sense of liveliness. Notwithstanding the fact the theme of a girl with her eyes closed is a continuation of the works of older painters such as Đorđe Krstić, Beta Vukanović and Đorđe Jovanović, Vidosava Kovačević introduced with the Head of a Young Woman what would become the basic preoccupation of her painting over the next few years – a freer brushstroke and richer colours.

Vidosava Kovačević