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Temporary exhibition

Bread and Circuses, The Paintings of Tone Kralj 1941–1945

Bread and Circuses, The Paintings of Tone Kralj 1941–1945

The exhibition Bread and Circuses, The Paintings of Tone Kralj 1941–1945 presents the paintings created by Tone Kralj during the Second World War. These works reveal a sensitive, insightful, and daring personality who used his brush, ink or chisel to record the reality of his surroundings and respond critically to it. During the Second World War, the artist produced highly acclaimed works such asCircus Nazi, Rapallo and The Fleeing Mother, as well as numerous paintings in the churches of the Littoral region, which are considered a symbol of defiance against fascism and nation-building. The more Slovenian word, culture and thought were banned, the more critical Kralj’s works were of contemporary events. Even at the time of their creation, these works were an encouragement to the Slovene population and a concept of resistance in painting. Today they are considered a telling document of the times, an example of the artist’s daring, independent creative path, and an example of the power or influence that art can have in society.

The National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia holds several works of Tone Kralj, including paintings, drawings and prints. Most of these works date back to or are thematically linked to the Second World War and most of them are also presented in the exhibition. Among them is the painting Shooting Hostages, 13 October 1942. This work is a double-sided painting, as the reverse of the canvas includes another motif painted by Tone Kralj, but it has been partially covered with a paint coating. Conservation and restoration work on the painting has revealed an interesting work entitled Panem et circenses (Bread and Games), a work of complex content and composition, which deals with the simultaneous political situation and the position of individuals within it. The work was researched in collaboration with art history, history, conservation and restoration specialists. In this exhibition, we also present this process of interdisciplinary work, the results of our research and offer an interpretation of the painting in question, using Panem et circenses as an example.

The exhibition was curated by Tina Fortič Jakopič and Marko Ličina. The exhibition was prepared in cooperation with the Restoration Centre of the Slovenian Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

The exhibition was made possible by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

Virtual tour of the exhibition >>>

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