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Art in Slovenia

Jožef Tominc - Biedermeier and Romanticism

(Gorizia, 1790 – Gradišče nad Prvačino, 1866)

Tominc was a Biedermeier portraitist who established himself mainly on the Gorizia and Trieste scene. In addition to individual portraits, he would also tackle group portraits with a lot of good sense. However, the painter’s character is best revealed in his vigorous self-portraits, pervaded by a touch of humour. Tominc slightly idealized and psychologically characterized his sitters, he subtly rendered skin tones, brilliance of the clothing and reflections. His works represent the highest achievement in Slovenian art in the first half of the 19th century.
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.