IVAN KOS: Self-portrait

Ivan Kos was a painter and a graphic artist whose portraits, self-portraits, still lifes and landscapes enriched the Maribor art scene of the 20th century and significantly shaped its cultural history. Self-portrait of 1926 is a continuation of early self-portraits painted during Kos’ studies in Prague. Characteristic of them are the distinct facial features, in particular his intense gaze and tightened lips. The emphasis on the eyes and the sharply expressed facial features stem from his drawing technique, which he first learned during his studies in Vienna and later in Prague, where he painted under the influence of professors Vlaho Bukovec and František Thiele. Kos’ Self-portrait of 1926 is considered to be one of his masterpieces. In addition to the artist’s masterful command of the technique, the self-portrait is especially characterised by the contrast between the tightened lips, which indicate the painter’s restraint, and the sharp gaze that reveals the distinctive power of his personality. The work was created soon after Kos’ return from Prague to Maribor, at a time when European – and Slovenian – Expressionism started to turn toward New Objectivity. Kos approached New Objectivity with a modest palette of warm dark tones and an emphasis on the plasticity of the face. Nevertheless, the painting is still dominated by the expressiveness that marks most of Kos’ self-portraits and portraits. However, the artist transcends the alienation of the portrayed person, which is typical for the figuration of New Objectivity, by staring expressively at the viewer and creating the impression of a genuine connection. In this regard, he closely resembles his contemporary Veno Pilon, who focused especially on the expressiveness of face and hands in his desire to emphasize the personality of those he portrayed. (Patricia Hrnčič,in the framework of the Creative Path to Knowledge project, Virtual Legends; The investment is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union from the European Social Fund)







Time of creation







- 49,4 x 38,5 cm



© 2018 Semantika d.o.o.


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