Impressionisms Routes Project: Candidate for the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe
The Eau & Lumiere Association was founded in Paris in 2009 to protect the memory of common European Impressionist and plein-air heritage. The Association presents points and places that are connected with Impressionist artists, their lives, motifs and inspirations. The project has a tourist component, too, since it aims to raise the visibility of smaller towns, municipalities, regions, cities and museums that are dedicated to the treasures of Impressionism.
The National Gallery of Slovenia has been a member of the Association since 2014 and the French coordinator has already connected 29 museums and institutions in 7 European countries (France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Slovenia).
The Route of the Sower
The entire route of Slovenian Impressionism has been named The Route of the Sower by the representatives of the Eau & Lumiere, and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Ivan Grohar’s birth the first leg of the route is dedicated to him.
Between Ljubljana, Škofja Loka, Sorica, Bohinj, Bled and Brezje, we have focused on several locations that are, each in its own way, connected to a specific painting by Ivan Grohar. Upper Carniola (Gorenjska) and Ljubljana have undergone a thorough urbanistic transformation during the past hundred years, and certain locations have by now been built-up or overgrown or are inaccessible (private land). Grohar often finished his works in his studio, following his own invention, so they cannot be directly related to authentic views (for the time being). In such cases we have chosen a suitable alternative view.
Grohar did not imitate nature but rather reinterpreted it. The picture space became flattened, mountain peaks became sharper, buildings moved sides and the invisible lines of the atmosphere, heat and emotions became visible, flickering, electric strokes. In his pictures we are faced with the Slovenian landscape that was formed by agriculture and farm work, not by urbanization. Grohar’s images are not socially critical, but they are full of zeal. Like some of his contemporaries, the artist believed that humanity began where plain work and body ended and love started which impregnated work with spirit.
A turn away from Realism to Impressionism occurred in Slovenia at the time when national art societies all over Europe tended towards ‘cultural differentiation’ and adopted individual art styles as national styles. Critics, eager for heroic art, often labelled Slovenian Impressionists as being unable to cope with the task, but the artists responded not only with successful exhibitions abroad but also by introducing new national symbols into their pictures. During the period of large-scale urbanization, as cities grew larger year by year, the Slovenian middle class began to see the peasants and the related hayracks and landscapes as something that remained authentic and that could be used as the keystone of nation formation. Thus, Slovenian Impressionists purposely created not only modernist works of art, but also common identification points that exist outside of time, place, and viewpoints.
17 June – 8 October 2017
National Gallery of Slovenia