Artworks in the Collection

Pheasant (1940)

In order to make a harmonious artistic whole of his collection, Pavle Beljanski was tirelessly changing its composition. The Pheasant got its place there only in 1957 and fit remarkably well in the group of nine paintings by Lubarda in the Memorial Collection, as an example of the final stage of pre-war realist opus of the artist (1932–1941). At that time the artist was mastering the craft through direct contact with nature, believing that one can “enter the art of painting well” through the subject. He wished to acquaint himself with different manifestations of reality in landscapes, still-lifes, flowers and portraits, in order to perfect his painting technique – in the case of the Pheasant to depict a dead body. He was probably thinking of the great masters from the Louvre, Chardin and Goya. From the first one, he inherited a certain nobility of the painter’s subject matter as well as similar themes (The Disemboweled Rabbit, The Ray), whereas the other one painted a dead lamb’s head three centuries earlier. Regardless of the analogies, the Pheasant is not a piece of the so-called “museum art.” It is not about a faithful depiction of the outer reality of the object, but a special creative principle: the object is the expression of the artist’s intuition, through which he indirectly crystallizes the spirit of time. Along with the paintings entitled The Slaughtered Lamb and The Slaughtered Cock from the same year, the Pheasant acquires the character of an ominous symbol before the outbreak of World War II. The spontaneity and breadth of brushstrokes, the voluptuous facture, the contrasting of warm orange and red tones with the cool olive-green tone of the background and the shadows lends the painting a dramatic intonation, which fully justifies the term “dramatic realism” as the entry under which it can be found.

Petar Lubarda