Slava Raškaj

Slava Raškaj

Slava Raškaj (January 2 1877, Ozalj, Croatia — March 29, 1906, Zagreb) was an artist considered to be one of the first great Croatian watercolourists.

Early years

Slava was born in the family of the local administrator Vjekoslav Raškaj and his wife Olga, and her name "Slava" means glory in Croatian. Until the age of seven she lived with her family.

Being deaf since birth, due to the difficulties in communication, Raškaj gradually withdrew from people, but not before her talent was noticed. Until the age of fifteen, (1885 - 1893), she lived in an institution for deaf children in Vienna, Austria. Under the influence of an art instructor she kept developing in the area of painting and drawing.

Back home, in 1895, persuaded by a local teacher in Ozalj Ivana Otoić-Muha, Raškaj left for Zagreb to attend the art school. In 1896 her instructor was painter Bela Čikoš-Sesija.

Raškaj's repertoire was peculiar - dark shades of still life, watercolor paintings containing strange objects as the starfish, silver jewelry chest, and even more interesting, the pairs of objects as a red rose and an owl, or a lobster and a fan.

Independent artist

Otoić helped her to open her own atelier. It was a small, white painted room, once a mortuary. Her first aquarel was completed there, and probably today's most famous self-portrait from the year 1898. In 1899, Raškaj spent at home in Ozalj, wandering outdoors, drawing the landscapes, perfecting her favoured medium , enriching them with her unique and distinguished style and sensitivity.

Her works have been exhibited since 1898 in art pavilions of Zagreb, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It was the prolific part of her career when most of the valuable works were done, including:

* “Stablo u snijegu” (Tree in the snow)
* “Rano proljeće” (Early spring)
* “Proljeće u Ozlju” (Spring in Ozalj)
* “Zimski pejsaž” (Winter landscape)
* “Lopoči” (Water lillies)

Soon, the first symptoms of the disease started to show up - loneliness, alienation, need for privacy and nature. Old abandoned mills, depth of the canyon of Kupa river, ruins started to be the focus of her mind.

In 1902, due to chronic depression, aggression and other psychological symptoms she was institutionalised. She died March 29, 1906.

External links

* [ Croatian 19th century female painters]

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