Due to the renovation plans of the deteriorated building of Narodni dom, we had to remove the permanent collection Art in Slovenia. After careful preparation, we have put up the collection in the new wing of the National Gallery of Slovenia where, because of a different configuration of the rooms, new presentation possibilities have shown themselves and new, different connections between the exhibits have been made. This display is going to be on view up till the autumn of 2015, that is, until the renovation of the Narodni dom palace is completed. In the renovated original space, the collection will shine in a new light and according to contemporary museology standards. European Paintings collection is now on view in limited setup in the New wing exhibit hall. Based on a visitors' survey, the legends of some of the most popular works of art have been equipped with QR codes.
All works of art from the collections are still available to view on the National Gallery of Slovenia website. Please note that the visitor entrance is located only at Prešernova cesta 24. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.
The permanent collection represents the core of the activity of the National Gallery of Slovenia. This is manifested in the fact that the largest space of the Gallery is reserved for exhibiting the selected works from its collection. However, the rapidly decreasing potential for acquiring new important works of art has seriously affected the inner dynamics of the Gallery collections.
The most significant contribution to the permanent collection since 1945 is the inclusion of major paintings by Ivan Grohar. The acquisitions of works by other artists are less apparent. It has thus been decided to undertake a revision of the collection along with the compilation of a new guide book, for the first time since 1961, in order to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the National Gallery of Slovenia.
Every attempt to put up a permanent collection tends to raise the question of how permanent a permanent collection should be. It entails a long range of activities based on the display of the material and its fixedness in various publications and printed matter. Moreover, every exhibition inside or outside the building inevitably encroaches on the permanent collection, leaving behind voids that cannot possibly be filled with temporary replacements. The collection of the National Gallery is comparatively small due to the relatively meagre scale of the overall national output. It becomes even smaller with the omission of all those items which have only documentary or historical merit. Even when a certain replacement is possible, it presents a threat to the coherence of the exhibition, etc. In addition to this, a general display depends vitally on the configuration of the rooms in the building, which was not designed to serve a museum function and does not allow for any rearrangement of the space available.
Given our awkward situation, we are time and again faced with the challenge of having to find methods for museum presentation which would leave room for the maximum flexibility of the items exhibited as well as for their multipurpose functioning, without gravely affecting the permanent collection. The main complexes of the collection cannot be subject to any major alteration therefore the chronological division remains globally unchanged. The following four art historians have been entrusted with the historical-stylistic undertaking of the material: Tomaž Vignjević - medieval art and early modern sculpture, Ferdinand Šerbelj - baroque art, Barbara Jaki - nineteenth-century painting, and Andrej Smrekar - early twentieth century painting. Placement of individual objects required compromises between the chronology and the aesthetic configuration of the space. More space has been allotted to individual items so that they can be experienced in their unique appearance or in the context of related works. The more spacious layout of the exhibition is at the same time conducive to occasional rearrangements. By and large, it is a never-ending task of balancing the selection and revising the hierarchy of the material according to quality and historical importance, if all the outstanding features of the collection are to be presented in their best light. The prospects for the next rearrangement lie with the renovation of Narodni dom, which may be due in the short-term future.
In this way we hope to meet the various interests and expectations of our audiences and to prepare the ground for new perceptions and interpretations of the presented material. The collection should meet the wide range of visitors’ expectations, it cannot do without the most popular paintings, those that may even be regarded as indispensable.
Historic catechesis is only one and not necessarily the primary goal of the permanent collection. All in all, published books are a much more effective means of performing the task in that they create an imaginary museum for the most truly significant monuments of our patrimony.