THE AGE OF INNOCENCE: Ivana Kobilca And Her Timeless »Summer«
Ivana Kobilca (1861 – 1926), is by far the most most prominent Slovene female painter and a key figure of Slovene cultural identity.
She spent more than half of her life abroad, split between European metropolises, home-based Ljubljana and the Slovene countryside. In the summer, she often visited her mother’s home in Podbrezje, a small village near Kranj.
It was in Podbrezje where in the summer of 1889 Ivana started to work on a painting she titled »Summer«. Up until this day the painting remains one of the most recognized Slovene artworks.
In an era when female artists were rare, she bucked the trend. Ivana Kobilca not only became a visual chronicler of fin de siècle life in Slovenia, but also made a name for herself as one of the country’s foremost artists.
“Summer” is portraying Ivana’s younger sister Fani making a flower wreath on a nice summer afternoon. The two children next to her are her cousins Janezek and Katica. Two smiley village boys in the back, climbing over the fence are rushing to join them.
The painting filled with peace, grace and happiness was finished in a studio a year later with the help of a photo. It got Kobilca into a prestigious exhibition in Paris — and was eventually exhibited in important art centres throughout Europe. Even the notoriously fickle French press gave »Summer »rave reviews, and Kobilca moved to Paris, where she received additional training.
Love, grace and compassion
Last days of summer are passing by. But the wish it would last just a bit longer is present in the smell of the flowers, the green country grass, and in the tree branches. Relaxation lies on young woman’s face, no unrest, nothing at all could spoil this perfect moment.
Summer is happiness, peace, friends, family, carefreeness, compassion and love.
But who or what brought a mysterious smile on woman’s lips?
That we can only guess.
The innocence of summer idyll and the immortality of one summer moment from a hundred years ago still enchant everyone, standing in front of the painting.
Today the painting is exhibited in the National Gallery of Slovenia in Ljubljana.