Works of art from the state residence in Brijuni exhibited to the public in the Klovićevi dvori Gallery

On Friday, 23 April 2021, the Klovićevi dvori Gallery in Zagreb opened an exhibition called “Art of the Slavonia Nobility – Masterpieces of European Heritage,” which presents to cultural heritage lovers, among the selected objects of a wide cultural range, the Old Testament-themed paintings that arrived to the exhibition from Brijuni, where Državne nekretnine keeps them as a part of the art inventory of the small and large parlor of Vila Jadranka.

For this rich exhibition, where about 200 works of art and other objects from the legacy of 12 most important noble families of eastern Croatia were presented, Državne nekretnine borrowed two paintings by an unknown Italian painter of the Venetian school, which date from the last quarter of the 17th century and were made using the oil on canvas technique. Sacred scenes depict Bible characters from the Old Testament; the Old Testament’s Joseph and Potiphar’s wife are the subject of the painting that adorns the large parlor, and the baroque painting depicting King David and Bathsheba through the eyes of the artist captures attention with an open view towards the small parlor of the villa.

The valuable and numerous art inventory of residential villas where we keep more than 5,000 works of art and book materials represents a special responsibility for the Company, and the historical circumstances which connect these two paintings with the Slavonia nobility were explained to us by one of the authors of the exhibition, assistant professor Jasminka Najcer Sabljak: “Certain paintings that are in Brijuni, and in other state residences, are a part of the legacy of the Eltz family, and they originate from the Vukovar castle, which was nationalized after the Second World War, and all property was confiscated. By investigating the origin of works of art, a large number of works of art that belonged to the collections of noble families from eastern Croatia until World War II was identified.”

Regarding the exhibition concept itself, the author pointed out: “The works of art at the exhibition are arranged chronologically, from the Baroque to the modern art of the 20th century, but the story that follows the noble collections unfolds through the space at the same time.” At this exhibition, artistic paintings from Brijuni have found their place in the collection of Old Testament scenes, and considering the wealth of artifacts we take care of, this is certainly not the last collaboration with which the Company protects valuable cultural heritage from being forgotten.

The exhibition Art of the Slavonia Nobility – Masterpieces of European Heritage was realized in cooperation with the Klovićevi dvori Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts in Osijek and the Museum of Slavonia in Osijek.

Published 24. April 2021.