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Exhibitions and Projects
11 March–30 May 2021

Fortunat Bergant

(Mekinje, 1721 – Ljubljana, 1769)

Alongside Valentin Metzinger (1699–1759), Franc Jelovšek (1700–1764) and Anton Cebej (1722–after 1774), the painter Fortunat Bergant is one of the main representatives of Slovene Baroque painting. He strongly influenced the artistic image of the country in the second half of the 18th century, in which he lived and created.

Seventy years after the last exhibition of Bergant's oeuvre and on the 300th anniversary of his birth, the National Gallery presents the most representative works by him, depicting the life story of the most "native", most "enigmatic" and most "original" artist. Although he did not leave any real successors behind, later generations of artists, with Rihard Jakopič (1869–1943) at the head, recognized him as the most "Slovene" painter of them all.

In comparison to other Slovene Baroque painters, Bergant developed the most idiosyncratic and relatively easily recognizable painting style. Characteristic facial type and folds with sharp, white-lit ridges and wide surfaces are something we find in all of his works.

The exhibition follows the painter’s beginnings and his works influenced heavily by the local environment by artists working in Kamnik and its surroundings and in Ljubljana. A particularly important period in Bergant's life was the time he spent in Rome (1756–1760), where he attended the School of the Nude – Scuola del Nudo. For his drawing of a male nude, Bergant won first prize twice, in 1756 and 1758.

After returning to Carniola in 1760, Bergant received several commissions for the sacred spaces of religious orders for the Poor Clares, Cistercians, Franciscans, Jesuits and Capuchins. His images of Mary with the Child embody the maternal love, and through their grace and gentleness they address the deepest emotions of their audiences. With non-idealized images of saints in ecstasy, Bergant was able to approach the emotions of a simple God-fearing Baroque human. As a master of psychological insight, fashionable representative compositions and technically flawlessly painted clothes, he convinced even the most demanding Carniolan noblemen to order portraits from him.

The exhibition, with its accompanying publication and some new or rediscovered works, presents Bergant in the light of his time taking account of the influence from the local and foreign environments, his clients and opportunities that shaped the career of the Carniolan artist.

  • Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) (video, Slovene only)
    Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) (video, Slovene only)
  • Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - o življenju umetnika (video, Slovene only)
    Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - o življenju umetnika (video, Slovene only)
  • Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Zamaknjenje sv. Frančiška Asiškega (video, Slovene only)
    Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Zamaknjenje sv. Frančiška Asiškega (video, Slovene only)
  • Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Sv. Alojzij (video, Slovene only)
    Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Sv. Alojzij (video, Slovene only)
  • Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Portret Jožefa Antona barona Codellija, 1762 (video, Slovene only)
    Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Portret Jožefa Antona barona Codellija, 1762 (video, Slovene only)
  • Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Sv. Jurij (video, Slovene only)
    Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Sv. Jurij (video, Slovene only)
  • Za maturante: Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Portret Marije Ane baronice Erberg (video, Slovene only)
    Za maturante: Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Portret Marije Ane baronice Erberg (video, Slovene only)
  • Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Marija Snežna (Marija z Jezusom v naročju) (video, Slovene only)
    Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Marija Snežna (Marija z Jezusom v naročju) (video, Slovene only)
  • Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Škapulirska Marija, (1751) (video, Slovene only)
    Fortunat Bergant (1721-1769) - Škapulirska Marija, (1751) (video, Slovene only)

Author of the exhibition and project leader
Katra Meke

Conservation-restoration preparation of materials
Andrej Hirci, Miha Pirnat ml., Andreja Ravnikar, Simona Škorja, Martina Vuga, National Gallery of Slovenia
Stanka Grkman, Blanka Avguštin Florjanovič, Archives of the Republic of Slovenia
Irena Potočnik, Slovene Museum of Christianity
Teja Božič, Maja Janičijević, Flavia Serena di Lapigio

Exhibition set-up and graphic design
Bojan Lazarevič, Agora Proars

The works of art were loaned by
Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome
Archives of the Republic of Slovenia
Cistercian Abbey Stična
Franciscan Friary, Kamnik
Franciscan Friary, Nazarje
Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana
Slovene Museum of Christianity, Stična
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Ursuline Convent Ljubljana
Ursuline Convent Sv. Duh near Škofja Loka
Parish Cerkno
Parish Eberndorf
Parish Kamnik
Parish Kočevje
Parish Ljubljana – St. James
Parish Mošnje
Parish Mozirje
Parish Stari trg near Lož
Parish Žalec

The exhibition was supported by

11 March–30 May 2021
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana