The romantic landscapist and vedutista Marko Pernhart is considered the first significant landscape painter in Slovenia. His oeuvre consists of more than 1,200 oils, outstanding among which are particularly his 360-degree panoramic views from the vantage points of peaks in the eastern Alpine world; these are considered to be his particular original thematic field.
Marko Pernhart was born at Untermieger, in the municipality of Ebenthal, in the present Austrian part of Carinthia. He died in the provincial hospital in Klagenfurt. When he was fifteen, he left for Klagenfurt to be trained in painting. He soon met Eduard von Moro there, a cloth manufacturer and painter of Viktring, under whom he studied landscape painting and who promoted Pernhart’s further artistic development. It was most probably through Moro’s agency that he came into contact with Franz Steinfeld, an influential professor of landscape painting at the Vienna academy.
Because Marko Pernhart painted directly from nature, he travelled a great deal, of which as many as sixty-five surviving sketchbooks by him are evidence. Pernhart was also the first mountaineer among painters. He climbed Mt. Triglav in 1849 (the panorama is housed in the National Museum of Slovenia), then Mt. Stol (National Gallery of Slovenia, inv. nos. NG S 292–295), and other peaks, such as Mt. Mangart, Dobratsch, Saualpe, Monte Santo di Lussari, etc. Truly legendary seem to be his repeated ascents to the summit of almost 3,800 m of altitude, Mt. Grossglockner.
In the same manner he also produced a panorama from Mt. Šmarna gora, the hill which offers, thanks to its excellent geographic position, vast vistas towards the horizon with the Julian Alps, the Kamnik Alps and the Karavanken mountains, as well as the hills in the regions of Dolenjska and Primorska. Pernhart painted this panorama in the 1860s, when he most often came to Carniola in his search for painting motifs. The earliest mention known so far of Pernhart’s panoramas from Mt. Stol and from Mt. Šmarna gora is related to the fact that the paintings were bought by the Savings Bank of Carniola from the legacy of Jernej Vidmar (Widmer), the bishop of Ljubljana who had died in Kranj in 1883. The National Bank (Ljubljana) handed them over to the National Gallery of Slovenia around 1960.
Translated and proofread by
3 April–6 May 2014
National Gallery of Slovenia