Podravina's vineyard houses by Petar Petrović presented across Podravina region

As part of the EU reVITAlize project, several pop-up exhibitions Podravina's vineyard houses by Petar Petrović were held. Petar Petrović (10 May 1942) was born in Molvarske Grede, and today he lives and paints that which is less and less abundant in Đurđevac. On this occasion, the tradition of viticulture was presented by selecting graphics from several graphic maps preserved in the holdings of the Koprivnica Town Museum. These graphics confirm how anonymous carpenters, bricklayers, and peasants taught by tradition and guided by the functional needs of living and aesthetic understandings of the rural environment, aspired to build simple constructions with available materials. The basic construction of the vineyard house was made of wood, while the walls made of packed clay and wicker were smeared with mud. “Arrows are built into empty spaces, while hazel or birch twigs woven around them are the base on which the clay is put, mixed with water and chopped hay or chaff. When such a mixture is partially dry, mud clay mixed with chaff is once again put on it.“[1] Vineyard houses' roofs are covered with hay, which retains the warmth which Petar Petrović's paintings bring. With his brush strokes, he softens the weight and effort of the former peasant life and, at the same time, facilitates the life of today's modern man by reminding him of that which had been forgotten - former coexistence and harmony with Nature.

The drawing will be his main hope and a constant backbone on which he will base a multitude of paintings which will occasionally lean more towards a realistic depiction of selected motifs. The motifs will seek to preserve the world of the past from being forgotten by recording the former way of life through depictions of mills, water mills, primitive refrigerators (deep holes dug in the ground with hay roofs); former social occasions, such as going to local fairs, baking cakes, preparing wood, gardening and viticulture, which is especially dear to him. He records the rural architecture of vineyard houses or barns with dedication and precision, and groups them in numerous graphic folders. The names of the maps reveal his bond with his native region and heritage, which is in danger of being forgotten and disappearing over time. With his drawings and graphics, he tries to keep the impression of today's living situation which does not fade away. Instead, it lives forever in his indie ink strokes. That is why he goes back to the past – to the records of his own memories and recollections, which he carefully protects from oblivion. Therefore, narrative scenes full of details and some symbols are interesting not only to art historians but also to ethnologists and anthropologists as a valuable source of knowledge about past times, “reinforced” by statements and simple poetic forms, recorded in the original, locally marked kajkavian dialect and speech.

Đurđevac, as the author’s birthplace, served as the starting point of his traveling exhibition (5 June). Koprivnica's exhibition included several points with presentations (12, 18 and 23 June) near points for mass vaccinations in the local high school hall, and then a presentation in the atrium of the Youth Center with the Wine Fest event (26 June). The final presentation was held last weekend in Hlebine (3 July) with the opening of Tomislav Grabar's solo exhibition. In total, the exhibition was seen by over 10,000 visitors, 9,304 of whom had already received their vaccination against the spread of the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus.

The program was implemented with European Union funds within the project "Wine folklore as a historical identity of Podravina and Pomurje" (reVITAlize) within the INTERREG V-A cross-border cooperation program Hungary-Croatia 2014-2020.


Photos provided by Natalija Hrženjak (Koprivnica-Križevci county)

[1] Petra Somek: Tradicijski način gradnje ruralnih objekata u Podravini, Podravina, XII, number 23, 52 - 69, Koprivnica, Meridijani, 2013, p. 56.

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