Learning a few Slovenian art words before jumping on a ‘plane and heading to this beautiful central European country will pay dividends if you intend on taking in a bit of art while there. Although Slovenian art words tend to bear little relation to their English counterparts, with a bit of effort you can remember a few and impress the locals by using them when appreciating the visual arts during your travels.
Commonly Used Slovenian Art Words
Let’s start with a short list of the most common art words. You don’t have to remember them all, just a handful is sure to enhance your enjoyment and impress the people you might meet.
If you are visiting Slovenia for the first time it is likely that you will start your trip in the capital of Ljubljana. A bustling metropolis on the banks of the Ljubljanica river, Ljubljana has a rich artistic history and a thriving contemporary Slovenian art scene.
Ljubljana’s Main Museums
The National Gallery
Slovenia’s flagship museum boasts an incredible collection of fine arts dating back to the Middle Ages through to the 20th century. The gallery has divided its permanent collection according to the historical period it belongs to. Among the must-see fine art are displays of sacred art from the medieval period and famous works by some of the best-known Baroque artists. Be sure not to miss the portraits by Jožef Tominc and the splendid neoclassical works by Franc Kavčič.
The Slovenian Impressionists are represented by masters including Matija Jama, Rihard Jakopič and Ivan Grohar. Among the Realists are artists such as Jurij Šubic and Janez Šubic. As well as art sourced from across Slovenia and Europe, the National Gallery is especially proud of its Baroque art. A centrepiece is Francesco Robba’s magnificent Fountain of Three Carniolan Rivers. The sculpture was originally created to grace the courtyard of the town hall where a replica has since been erected.
Those visiting with their family may want to visit Gal’s room which caters for children. The gallery also has a large library, a quiet reading corner and a cafeteria.
Museum Of Modern Art
Dedicated to Slovenia’s modern art scene, the Museum of Modern Art is a celebration of the country’s 20th-century artists. The museum has an impressive permanent collection as well as temporary displays. If you are lucky you might visit the galleries when the International Biennial of Graphic Arts is being held.
As well as holding a fine collection of modern art the museum is dedicated to research, study and education with a view to bringing contemporary art of Slovenian artists to the general public.
Museum Of Contemporary Art Metelkova (MSUM)
The Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (MSUM) houses a large variety of works by national and international artists. The building is also home to the Arteast 2000+ international collection. Selected works have been chosen from avant-garde artists from eastern and western Europe. The visual arts are cleverly combined with art installations, interactive art projects and temporary exhibitions.
As well as paintings, illustrations, photography and sculpture, the museum has a library of more than 66,000 books, publications, journals, newspapers and catalogues which are a mine of information for those fascinated by contemporary art.
International Centre Of Graphic Arts
Located in the Tivoli Mansion, the International Centre Of Graphic Arts is home to an impressive collection of fine art prints. Most of these prints were produced after the second world war by the Ljubljana School of Graphic Arts, Eastern European artists, the Cobra art group and artists working in the first decades after the war in the Paris School.
Programmes have been created for those interested in fine art printmaking. The Centre is well-equipped with technology for producing silkscreen prints, lithographic prints and intaglio prints. There is also a programme aimed at artists-in-residence created in collaboration with the Associazione Amici della Galleria Spazzapan in Gradiška.
Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Art
Founded in 1955 and famous around the world, the Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Art is a favourite among members of the public, experts, key figures and artists.
Opened in September 2001, Cukrarna Gallery has a fascinating history. The building started out as a sugar refinery back in 1828. Although by the middle of the 19th century the factory was the largest of its kind anywhere in Austria-Hungary a fall in demand for sugar refined from cane meant its owner found himself heavily in debt. The death knell for the factory was sounded when a fire broke out in August 1858. The building was put out of action and became a shelter for poorer Ljubljanans including factory workers and soldiers. Famous writers including Ivan Cankar, Oton Župančič, Dragotin Kette and Josip Murn would meet up and stay there.
A New Lease Of Life
The grounds and building were sold to the City of Ljubljana in 2008. Renovation and restoration were completed between 2018 and 2021. The Gallery is now under the supervision of the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana and is protected.
If you are interested in learning more about the art of Slovenia, why not start by learning a few useful Slovenian art words and phrases? By downloading the Ling App learning Slovenian becomes both easy and fun.