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Art in Slovenia

Cornelis Johannes van Hulstijn - Biedermeier and Romanticism

(Jutphaas, 1813 – Celje, 1879)

Born 1813 in Jutphaas near Utrecht, died 1879 in Celje. He was a pupil of Cornelis Johannes de Bruyn, a painter of fruit and flower still lifes in Amsterdam. In Utrecht he completed the illustrations for Jan Kops’ book Flora Batava, which had been begun by G. J. J. van Os. The old literature mentions Hulstijn’s departure for Trieste in 1848, but this has not been proved. He painted for aristocratic families in Rimske Toplice and Lemberg in Slovenia. The Pokrajinski muzej in Celje holds five signed works from the period 1847–1860, one picture was sold at the 578th auction of the Dorotheum in Vienna in 1967 (28 Nov.–1 Dec.), No. 116.

Lit.: Andrej Ujčič, O delu in bivanju slikarja C. J. van Hulstijna pri nas, ČZN, 2, n. v., 1966, pp. 192-198; Peter A. Scheen, Lexicon nederlandse beeldende Kunstenaars: 1750-1950, s'Gravenhage 1969, p. 529.
Biedermeier and Romanticism
Heavily censored public life between the Congress of Vienna and the Spring of Nations in 1848, weakened Church patronage, and the ascending middle class marked the era when life focused on the privacy of the family circle, individual dignity and the sense of belonging; this is expressed in the Central European art as the style of Biedermeier which coexisted with a Romantic view of nature. 

Portraiture was the genre of painting that saw its heyday in this era. Matevž Langus, Jožef Tominc, Mihael Stroj and Anton Karinger established themselves as individually formed portraitists who demonstrated their self-confidence as artists also through their self-portraits. The painters initially relied on formal characteristics of Neoclassicism. Stroj’s late portraits and particularly those by Karinger abandoned the Biedermeier manner and adopted a more realistic approach. 

Interest in landscape first appeared as the background of portraits; towards the mid-century first autonomous city vedute emerged. The Biedermaier landscape is idyllic, descriptive, and furnished with staffage figures. Painters were attracted by tourist destinations and locations that were related to homeland identity: Mt. Triglav, Lake Bohinj, Bled. Anton Karinger and Marko Pernhart established themselves as explicit landscapists. The latter became famous for his multi-part panoramas from mountain peaks. 

Still lifes became an attractive decoration of a middle-class home, and they also found favour with amateur women painters, one of whom was Countess Maria Auersperg Attems.