Artworks in the Collection

Petar LUBARDA
Church of St. Blasius (1937)


The baroque Church of St. Blasius, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, was built at the beginning of the 18th century on the foundations of an old temple. Lubarda painted it in 1937, when his pre-war painting reached its peak, crowned by winning the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in Paris. The sense of monumentality, characteristic of Lubarda’s visual expression in all his artist’s stages can, in the classical sense, perhaps best be observed in this work. It is mentioned in Beljanski’s collection only from 1952 as one of the pieces on display at The Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of Pavle Beljanski in the Belgrade City Museum. Sources say that, along with the Roses from the Memorial Collection, it is mentioned as an example of a turning point in Lubarda’s stylistic development. The stress is no longer on the linear but on the pictorial. In the Church of St. Blasius, the darker general tonality still prevails, but now the brightness value scale is much deeper, the contrasts are stronger, which adds to the volume of the object and to the depth of the composition. The spontaneity and the breadth of brushstrokes confirm Lubarda’s often quoted standpoint that in art he is most drawn to the dramatic approach to painting, an attempt to depict one’s emotions in a restless but intelligible way. The facture of the painting becomes more solid, which is achieved by thicker layers of paint than before, so that this piece represents one of the first examples where Lubarda allowed his forceful temperament to find the right visual expression. The dense facture and the voluptuous matter from the pre-war period opened up the way towards the post-war period, when the relief structure, together with pure colours, brought about the triumph of the abstract over the real elements of the painting.

Petar Lubarda