Miodrag B. Protić

Miodrag B. Protić

(Vrnjačka Banja, 10 May 1922 – Belgrade, 20 December 2014)

With his simultaneous and closely connected activities of a painter, critic, theoretician and art historian, the founder and longtime director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, and a writer of memoirs, Miodrag B. Protić is one of the most remarkable personalities in the Serbian and wider art scene for the duration of his public activities. It is therefore not possible to isolate his painting and fundamentally understand it outside Protić’s entire and multiple working roles as well as vocations of this protagonist of an enlightened culture of postwar high modernism, something which he carried out in the context of historical circumstances of Serbian (surrounded by a wider Yugoslav) social and political reality in the first decades of the second half of the 20th century. As a painter, he exhibited for the first time at an exhibition by the Association of Fine Artists of Serbia in 1950. He was a member of the December Group (1955-1960). He staged his first solo exhibition in 1956 in the Art Pavilion. In the same year, he took part in the Yugoslav Selection at the Venice Biennale (where he received a UNESCO award). Numerous exhibitions followed over the following decades, solo and group exhibitions in the country and abroad (at the Biennale in Sao Paolo 1964, the Abstract Painting in Serbia 1951-1970 exhbition in the Belgrade Cultural Center Gallery 1971, and other). He passed through a complex and gradual developmental itinerary, ranging from classic themes to producing paintings with external characteristics of “abstract landscapes“ and “imaginary spaces“, all along retaining a mandatory so-called semantic key as a notion under which the artist himself was inclined to mark the existence of additional spiritual and symbolic meanings in key works such Gea, Constellations (in a number of versions), Asteroid, Horizon, Moon, Sign of the Evening, Sign of the Night, and many others. The Gea painting (1969), published in the book by Italian critic Gillo Dorfles, Latest Tendencies of Art of Today (Ultime tendenze nell’arte d’oggi, 1973). At the time when, among others, the Great Constellation in Blue painting (1977) was created, Protić brought his understanding of painting as a discipline of a typical modernistic treatment of painted space and refined color to its final stage, a view in which color was no longer subdued to direct informaiton from Nature, but kept in its tonal gradations a distant organic and objective origin.

Miodrag B Protic – A Large Constellation in Blue (1977),<br>oil on canvas, 194 cm x 130 cm

Miodrag B. Protic

A Large Constellation in Blue (1977)

oil on canvas,

194 cm x 130 cm