Slovenian Culture

Art in Slovenia

Our original website had a page on Slovenian art... but we were lazy and copied the text from one of the official Slovenian sites. Having lived there for a while, it slowly but inexorably become apparent that, as in many things, although Slovenians are fiercely proud of their country, they're terrible at telling us foreigners what's in it.

This being a travel website (mostly), you won't find an in-depth study into the glories of Slovenian art here. But we will attempt to tempt you with what little we have seen for ourselves. Quite simply, there is an astonishing amount of art that would grace any of the great galleries in London, Paris or New York.

 

After the usual stuff you'll find in this part of the world before the last century, Slovenian artists appear to have distilled themselves into an isolated version of what went on in the rest of Europe. For instance, Slovenia had its impressionists - Ivan Grohar, Matija Jama, Matija Sternen and Rihard Jakopič for instance - but seem to have kept them to itself, even though they would vie with much of what's on any western gallery's walls.

Probably the most famous Slovenian artist was Zoran Mušič (1909 - 2005). Although accomplished, he failed to find his inner heart until many years after he was released from Dachau, when he started to paint the horror that had stayed with him. Thankfully, the fabulously rebuilt Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana held a major retrospective when it re-opened.

Then again, probably the best gallery of modern Slovenian artists is to found at Kostanjevica, in Dolenjska. Don't be fooled by the rubbish website - that's just the Slovenians trying to keep the good stuff to themselves.

If you're in Ljubljana, take a stroll around the old town and you'll bump into a gallery every few steps. The place is infested with 'em. They are usually staffed by very well-informed students and friends of the owners - just ask and you'll be richly rewarded.

Another really good place to look is the sloART website, an excellent collection of works by contemporary artists.

Take-away

Rather than the usual touristy stuff, consider buying a piece of art while you're here: it will serve as a much better link between you and Slovenia, plus it'll make the rest of your life a little brighter.

Although a donkey that sprouts cigarettes from its bum is always a winner.