Albania Paintings

By | January 6, 2022

In painting, within the same current of ” socialist realism ” we find the two coloristic trends already highlighted for the years between the two wars. The distinction, however, no longer coincides with that between portrait painters and landscape painters, rather it concerns the different psychological intentions with which to face reality.

In the works that recall the harshness of the previous conditions of life and the harshness of the struggle for independence, as in Bajram Curri in the cave of Dragobie by G. Madhi (1922-1988), shadows, green-gray, ocher. In the works celebrating the liberation struggle with an optimistic view towards the future of socialist society, lights and a richness of bright colors prevail, as in The morning of 17 November by B. Sejdini. In both cases it is the colorism that charges the realism of the composition with symbolic values. Above all is the original painting by Albania Buza, who uses the red typical of the sixteenth-century tradition of Onufri in a dramatic function, as in I Rifugiati (1957).

In the field of scenography we can distinguish H. Devolli (b. 1924), in that of the caricature Z. Bumci (b. 1917).

In the 1960s, sculptors no longer faced only monumental commitments, such as O. Paskali’s Il partigiano liberatore (1964), but also experimented with smaller-format sculpture for indoor environments: the bust of E. Hoxha (1965) by Paskali himself is widespread in many copies throughout Albania.

A third trend, that of the creation of collective works, which will predominate in the seventies and eighties, begins to be realized in large-scale works, as in the Equestrian Monument to Skanderbeg (1968), in Tirana, by O. Paskali, Albania Mana, J. Paco. In the same years the painters tend to express the new themes of the Albanian socialist society, also ideologically prepared for this by the Higher Institute of Arts in Tirana.

According to Localcollegeexplorer, many works illustrate the life of the working masses, such as The Builders (1964) and The Construction Site of Light (1969) by D. Jukniu (b. 1934); this theme also penetrates the canvases of the landscape architects, as in the exaltation of the voluntary work of the youth in Terrazzamenti a Lukova di S. Kaceli (b. 1914). In portraiture, the simple figures of the people are flanked by the images of the historical leaders of Marxism: Z. Shoshi (b.1939) with La Giovane di Zadrima (1964), and V. Kilica (b.1932) with Lenin (1964) and L ‘worker (1966).

In general, the artists of this period made use of more intense, expressive colors and, as they progressed technically, also of a freer, always realistic drawing. The personality of S. Shijaku (b. 1933) emerges: in The Artillery of Skanderbeg (1967) he appears to be a vigorous painter interested in both the spatial-compositional and coloristic aspects. Albania Buza instead favors ethnographic themes, combining the decorative sense of Byzantine art with the naive style of popular art: in Danza l’Albania (1969), a very famous canvas reproduced in thousands of posters, gives the work a sense of the characteristic rhythm, strongly expressive of the deep spirit of the Albanian people and its traditions; there is a sense of union and joy in the many colors of the costumes of all regions, in the dance movement that passes incessantly from one figure to another.

In the seventies a monumental sculpture develops in collective works of historical subject: The four heroines of Rreshen (1971), bronze by Albania Mana, P. Culi, F. Dushku and D. Gogollari; For independence (1972), built in Vllora by S. Hajderi, K. Rama, M. Dhrami, H. Dule and T. Damo.

In painting the theme of the history of the Party prevails: P. Kokushta, At the party house (1971), symbolic; S. Hysa (b. 1938), The party is founded (1974), with E. Hoxha at the center, leader also represented by many other painters (Shijaku, Shoshi, Kilica). S. Shijaku’s contribution is more original: in La voce delle masse (1974) he portrays the artist discussing his work with the people. The only examples of ethnographic painting still remain Albania Buza, Popular Games (1974), and D. Jukniu, The shepherds in the mountain.

Even in the Eighties the pedagogical function of art continued with socialist realism: Albania Shami (b. 1942), Lavoratori ai pozzi petroleum (1981); Albania Zajmi (b.1936), The mother (1983). Of the last generation are N. Hoxha, Albania Morina, M. Harapi, B. Kazevi, Z. Mati, L. Blushi.

In painting as well as in sculpture, collective works for public buildings are born: V. Kilica and others create the mosaic Albania walks (1981) on the pediment of the National History Museum in Tirana. We still have to mention L. Dhrami and P. Mele for graphics in general, and N. Bakalli in particular for posters; P. Konci, D. Ligori and I. Pojani for the caricature.

Albania Paintings