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Exhibitions and Projects
29 September–16 October 2016

Portraits of Jožef Tominc

visiting National Gallery of Slovenia

The portrait shows the first commander of the Civilian Unit of Gorizia (the then Municipal Police), Ivan Milost, popularly called “Zuan delle Rose” (John with a Rose). He wore a rose in a buttonhole throughout the seasons of the year; in addition to his fashionable clothes the rose denoted his privileged social position. The clothes are made even more precious by the anchor-shaped brooch with a showy bright diamond, which in turn invokes the earring. The sitter’s hairstyle is exquisitely elegant, with bushy sideburns, and his amiable smile contributes to express his good-naturedness and satisfaction with his own comfortable life. The painting was exhibited in Ljubljana in 1967, when it was still in a private collection. In 1995, the Italian state purchased it with the purpose to be given to the Galleria nazionale d’arte antica in Trieste. The portrait was most likely painted in the second half of the 1820s and is one of the first works in Tominc’s mature oeuvre. After the end of the exhibition in the National Gallery of Slovenia, the painting will be on display in the Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, included in the "Biedermaier extended" exhibition, from October 21, 2016, through February 12, 2017.

As to the present knowledge, the two sitters are spouse Carlo Sandrini and Matilde Hoffmann of Trieste. The portraits were perhaps commissioned on the occasion of the wedding of the couple, which should have occurred around the year 1840; namely, the woman wears a wedding ring on her left hand. Both sitters’ costume and hairstyle represent fashion trends of that period, and the arm of Matilde Hoffmann is embellished with two interesting bracelets. One is of Bohemian origin, in the shape of a snake and adorned with garnets. Such jewellery was extremely widespread in our places at that time, whereas the motif of a snake came into fashion exactly in the 1840s. The other bracelet is made of quartz of varied colours, with a heart-shaped pendant which likewise points to the time around the mid-19th century. The lady wears a necklace which is probably made of human hair, and of the same material is also the chain of Carlo Sandrini’s pocket watch. Hair jewellery was very popular in the 18thand 19th centuries and such items also had a sentimental value, since they were worn in remembrance of the loved ones. Pairs of portraits were usually meant to be mounted side by side on the same wall, therefore the figures are slightly turned one towards the other, with the man on the left and the woman on the right. Both sitters are portrayed in a fairly relaxed attitude, with a lively expression of the faces. The compositions are reduced to the essential elements. The backgrounds are neutral, which is typical of numerous portraits of individuals by Tominc dating from the 1830s and 1840s. Also the painting quality allows to place the two portraits in the period of maximum production of Jožef Tominc, at the time of his stay in Trieste. The whereabouts of the canvases was in Gorizia (Italy) and they have always been in private possession until now. The Regional museum Goriški muzej Kromberk, Nova Gorica, purchased them this year when we are celebrating the 150thanniversary of the painter’s death. They were first presented to the public on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, in Kromberk Castle, where they will be part of the permanent collection of ancient and modern art.

The paintings will be presented by Katarina Brešan, curator in the Regional museum Goriški muzej Kromberk, Nova Gorica, and Dr. Luca Caburlotto, director of the Polo museale del Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The exhibition was prepared in cooperation with
National Gallery of Slovenia
Nova Gorica, Regional museum Kromberk
Trieste, National Gallery of Ancient Art
Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

29 September–16 October 2016
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana