24.08.2021

Folk Piety in Naïve art

 

A small exhibition of folk piety through works of naïve art was presented on the ground floor of the Koprivnica Gallery as part of the EU reVITAlize project from 20 August to 20 September 2021. The artistic whole consists of a crucifix with two figures at the base in the prayer process that is connected to the pictorial representation of the crucifix. The life cycle of the community used to be inextricably linked to the natural cycles of seasonal changes which dictated how and when people did agricultural work and also followed certain festivals and holidays. The field of influence of folk piety is extremely wide and ranges from intimate personal space to public spaces. In order to further ensure the success of planting, harvesting or picking fruits, symbols of pious or religious connotation can also be found on the tools they used or items for personal usage that provided workers with additional strength. That is precisely why the symbols extend to the public space where people move in order to reach their arable land and, therefore, crucifixes or chapels will be found in their vicinity and/or at a crossroads. Apart from the fervent prayers of the faithful passers-by, people protected them by their very presence, while special respect was shown to them by taking off one's hat or cap, making the sign of the cross and saying a short silent prayer every time a person was near them. A sign of special reverence was demonstrated by kneeling and lowering one's head during praying. Prayer as the basis, primordial principle and foundation of every belief is a common motif of naïve artists by pointing out the importance that piety has for the spiritual health and survival. Thus, the focus would often be on (hyperbolized) folded fists that bring joy and peace to a person by picking the rosary - in the round, closed, almost polished volumes of Dragica Belković or the richly decorated sculpture of grape-shaped forms by Mate Generalić. The villagers in the center of the symmetrical composition of Josip Horvat - Ždalski direct their hands to the sky, interrupting the harvest to say the noon prayer and thank for the food they are preparing to eat. The characters are presented as flat and simplified with the indication of psychological characterization through accentuated line elements which reveal fatigue and exhaustion as a result of the agricultural life.

 

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