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.
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
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.
exhibition will be on view until 10 December 2023.