The representation of paintings in works of art does most often not occur fortuitously. In the portrait, it is a matter of investigating the link between the setting and the subject of the portrait; in a depiction of a studio, of positioning the artist vis-à-vis his painterly identity; and the selection of an interior in which paintings and works of art
are featured tends to have an intimist tone, to be connected with the personal affinities of the painter – and often constitutes a dedication to certain artists, periods or the atmospheres of diverse cities. The exhibition The “Painting in a Painting” in Croatian 20th century Painting explores works of Croatian painters in which depictions
of paintings appear, whether portraits, still lifes or interiors in the most restricted sense. Its main focus is on works of painters from Dubrovnik, and on the possibility of looking at the “painting in a painting” as an independent motif.1 For example, works that are entirely distinct in terms of style, like Masle’s and Kovačević’s depictions of interiors share a very similar fascination with the atmosphere of the Dubrovnik setting and the secret lives of inanimate things. Dulčić’s portrait procedure in which he takes in the background images in such a way that they sharpen the insight
into the psychological profile of the subject, creating, in other words, an additional layer of meaning, is a method that can be found with other Croatian painters. In spite of the broad concept of the exhibition implied by the title,
there is no ambition to give an exhaustive presentation of all the Croatian artists who have used the “picture in a picture” in their work; rather we are concerned with the kinship in the use of the motif in painters from the Dubrovnik area, and with some examples or parallels observed in the national context.