Andrija Maurović exhibition: Between political ideologies and pornography

Art, Drawing and illustration
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© Andrija Maurović
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© Andrija Maurović
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© Andrija Maurović
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© Andrija Maurović
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© Andrija Maurović

Time Out says

Father of Croatian comic strips receives exhibition focussing on all aspects of his career

Andrija Maurović is best known in Croatia as 'the father of Croatian comic strips'. Published in 1935, Vjerenica mača (bride of the sword) which Maurović drew to the text of writer Krešimir Kovačić is considered to be the first comic strip by a Croatian author. Between the two world wars, Maurović was popular as comic strip artist, a medium in which he continued to work throughout his life. But Maurović's art was not restricted to comic strips. The exhibition focuses equally on posters, illustrations, caricatures and other visual media as well as his comics.

Maurović started to publish his drawings in 1921, working with cartoons while living in Dubrovnik. His early work was influenced by Italian artists, but after his arrival in Zagreb in 1923 his work took on more of a German influence.

'This exhibition isn't a retrospective view of Maurović's work, it's rather a study of his creativity through themes of political ideologies and erotic/pornographic motives' says Frano Dulibić, professor at the Department of Art History at Zagreb's Faculty of Humanistic Sciences, who curated the exhibition. 'The selection of work in this exhibit offers a view on Maurović's ideological beliefs in various media and art technics.'

Maurović was not initially motivated by politics, but his left-leaning views were eventually reflected in a great number of his works. Maurović was jailed twice during the Croatian fascist dictatorship in the 1940s. Thereafter, he moved to the partisan-controlled territory and started drawing the partisan army. He published caricatures of Hitler and Mussolini in the 1930s. Maurović also drew pieces of humorous erotica between the two world wars, taking advantage of a small window of opportunity when such art was permissible. In the final years of his life, he also drew pieces which could be considered pornographic and which were not published. Such work, also presented at the exhibition, is only on display to visitors who are over 18, because of its strong content. The rest of the exhibition, including the work where politics and eroticism are combined, has no age limit. English translations of the text featured in the works are available at the museum, for visitors who do not speak Croatian.

by Ivor Kruljac

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