Rihard Jakopič had painted some of the most esteemed
paintings by 1912. If he only tested the applicability of experimentation with
the impressionist technique in scenes of bourgeois domesticity during his
period in Škofja Loka, the intimate experience of seemingly banal everyday
scenes took over after his settling down in Ljubljana late in 1906. Even when
he gazed through his apartment window at Križanke church and monastery during
the colder part of the year, the vision of the motif always at hand emerging on
the canvas was emphatically subjective. Here Jakopič’s paintings moved far
beyond the concept of equivalences − of adequacy of the visual information and
its pictorial interpretation, which was the remnant of the Realist program.
"I love paintings that are like a dream…,"
he uttered much later, but among those "dreams" we can extrapolate
the Reminiscences as one of the key
paintings of his intimism. The palette had become more intense, spatial
relations articulated almost entirely by colour relations and light-dark
contrast, while the painterly treatment with colour vibrancyand emancipated,
crumbling brushwork create a resonance of the internal experience of the girl
that has closed her book and the painter's sensation of her mental activity.
The painter's intention thus was to make the invisible visible.
The subject is represented in both manners of
execution that is particular to Jakopič. A number of his prominent paintings
also exist as sketches in oil, much more to the modern taste than his large-scale
salon paintings, because of their suggestive immediacy. The execution of a
large-scale painting is always hampered by the prolonged procedure of painting
and limited by the drawn or painted model. What had for Jakopič been a serious
problem while painting his Wife in Her
Wedding Dress in 1905, he resolved subsequently. In the Reminiscences he translated the sketch
into an outstanding masterpiece, intended for a large gallery wall, by
application of the same means both in the sketch and in the salon piece.
Author and translated by
April–8 May 2019
National Gallery of Slovenia