Vlaho Bukovac

Vlaho Bukovac (1855 – 1922) is one of the most important Croatian painters who worked at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. This great artist became famous even outside the borders of Croatia, and he discovered his talent at a young age.

Bukovac was born in Cavtat, and he lived in America as a child. Already at the age of fifteen, he decided to start earning as a sailor. When he returned home, his talent was discovered while painting the walls of his house, and soon he went out into the world again, this time to Peru, where he painted wagons. After that, his journey took him to California, and when he returned to Europe, poet Medo Pucić and bishop J. J. Strossmayer helped him to go to Paris and study painting at the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1878, he exhibited his works in Paris, and until the end of his life he had exhibitions in other cities, for example in Pest, Vienna, Venice and Zagreb.

Bukovac is one of the founders of Croatian modernism, and he also worked with many other famous artists, such as Oton Iveković. In cooperation with the younger generation of artists, he founded the Society of Croatian Artists. Bukovac was a member of many art societies, including the Yugoslav (later Croatian) Academy of Sciences and Arts. From 1903 until the end of his life, Bukovac worked as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, and in 1918 he was a member of the Czech delegation at the Peace Conference in Versailles.

Although he spent a large part of his life abroad, Bukovac always returned to his native Cavtat, where he was buried. His oeuvre includes many portraits, nudes, landscapes and views, and among the most famous works are Gundulić's dream, Jesus the friend of the little ones, Magdalena, the portrait of the Serbian queen Natalija Obranović and certainly the Croatian national revival - a painting on the ceremonial curtain of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb.

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