Portrait of Beta Vukanović by Risto Vukanović, 1902.

The miniature, which features a portrait of a young girl with an ornate hat on her head, is a sophisticated and delicate portrait of Beta Vukanović, the artist and wife of Rista Vukanović. The piece was created back in 1902 and represents one in a series of portraits, which were the artist’s favorite genre, in addition to paintings with historical themes.

Risto Vukanović was born in Bugovina near Trebinje, from where, like all Herzegovinians burdened with talent and ambitions, he left the world for his humble homeland. He taught elementary school in Turn Severin in Romania, and high school in Belgrade. In 1890, as a state scholarship holder, he enrolled at the Academy of Painting in St. Petersburg, and after a year he moved to Munich, where he continued his studies with Anton Ažbe, and then with Wagner. He is one of the most important representatives of the Munich Impressionist school. He exhibited at all Yugoslav exhibitions at the time, and in 1914 he participated in an exhibition at the Paris Salon.

After the death of Kiril Kutlik, Risto, together with his wife Beta, took over the inventory of his art school and organized classes there on a modern basis. In 1902, the Vukanovićs built a house in Kapetan Mišina Street no. 13. With the money that Beta received from Germany which had a dual purpose. It was at the same time their family house, but also the seat of the painting school, as the first and only house built for that purpose. The Royal Art School in Belgrade later developed from this school, and later the Faculty of Applied Arts.

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