Critics’ Reviews

Borba, April 21, 1956.
M. M. (Mića Milošević)
Milun Mitrovic’s Pastels
(Graphic collective Gallery)

[…] Mitrović’s finest, as well as artistically most distinctive work in this exhibition, is a number of rich and powerful landscapes, which display his particular affinity and exceptional abilities in this genre which is so beloved at present. These pictures also bear witness to something much more important: they contain — and this is unfortu­nately rare in our painting nowadays — very characteristic and significant features of the Ser­bian landscape, executed without any factographic naturalism, or descriptions of local regions. In these works, Mitrović succeeded in finding and condensing the true and complete impression and appearance of our region, in an artistically very sugges­tive and visually convincing manner. This is not only a very enviable artistic success, but also an obligation to achieve the same in his future work.

With broad and synthetically resolved surfaces, strong and pure colours applied in their most intense harmonies, Mitrović’s landscapes are as forceful and expressive as they are precisely observed and nuanced. The gentle material of pastel seems to have covered them with the finest silken velvet which appears to glow voluptuously and hide wonderful colouristic reflections in its folds […]

Pobjeda — Titograd, October 4, 1959.
A. Zadrima
Elemental and Fresh
(Montenegrin Art Pavilion)

[…] Geometrical forms only served Mitrović as a medium through which he expres­sed his own artistic vision. With broad strokes and lavish application of bright colours and harmonized tones which are very fresh to the eye, he has built up impressive entities. An impressive lushness and elementary simplicity emanate from them. Those are the characteristics of Mitrović’s painting, which can be seen in a series of works in which he depicts fields of ripe wheat, velvety pas­tures and dark plowed fields, paintings full of sunlight, ripeness and blossoming. This almost hedonistic relationship with nature is expressed by the rhythm of loose colours, masterfully interwoven. Without insistence on tonal relations and nuancing, they ’hold together’ and chromatically complement one another. He returns to the same subject several times in order to paint it in varying moods, add some new observation, new accent of colour, new dimension of form (Winter Landscape, Land, Evening) […]

Borba, September 23, 1962.
Danica Abramović
Serious and Contemporary Efforts
(Nadežda Petrović Gallery, Čačak)

[…] The experience, knowledge and culture that he gained throughout the years, have brought exceptional, deeply felt qualities to his painting. Today they are expressed through suggestive and interesting forms of a temperamental, but also refined colourist painting, which finds its most complete technical expression in the pastel technique and its sincere and emotional thematic vocation in the har­monious lines of the Serbian landscape […]

Subotičke novine, November 16, 1963.
M. Dejanović
Milun Mitrovic’s Pastels
(Winter Salon)

[…] In Milun Mitrović’s work, pastel seems to have achieved its renaissance.

Through the breadth of his stroke which is visible on the surface, this artist is able to show us a grand scale and depth of tone equal to the deep furrow of a plowed field or the richness of a downpour. Just as any vacillation or poverty is inconceivable when it comes to the sources of emotion, it is also natural for Milun Mitrović’s paintings to contain a wealth of high-quality painterly elements.

The harmony in the relationship between colours, surface and sensations is fascinat­ing. His abstract landscapes clearly represent symbols of titles of an existing world. This is one of the important aspects of his excellence. […] Milun Mitrović’s love is completely bound up with the land and everything on it, with everything that enthralls, worries or amazes a man. Regardless of whether it is raining or snowing — his space imaginarily stretches into some distant dream […]

Politika, January 18, 1963.
P. V. (Pavle Vasić)
Milun Mitrović’s Landscapes
(Belgrade Cultral Centre Gallery)

[…] Long interested in building a vision of the Serbian landscape, Mitrović has achieved impressive results in recent years, particularly in the technique of pastel. This means that he has built up a conception of the landscape which is more associa­tive than realistic in its effect, but as such suggests something new and original in our art.

[…] Certainly, there are landscapes in which the link with nature, with land and sky, are more obvious, but they, too, tire imbued with a strong personal expression so that the viewer perceives them primarily as an exciting visual experience […]

Foreword for the catalogue of the Cultral Centre Exhibition,
January 10–20, 1963.
Aleksa Čelebonović
Milun Mitrović

[…] The Belgrade school of painting between the wars had an ideal of pure painting, and certain members of today’s middle generation continue to cherish such values.

[…] Milun Mitrović engages in pure painting, and because of its characteristics, it is difficult to define its content by means of the spoken word. Only an indication of the sphere of his interests is possible. The starting point is the landscape, a simple one at that, an almost impoverished and artistically thankless vision of fields in late autumn, on the slopes of the rolling hills of Serbia. For a time the painter sought some common logic and structure from which he created a network of spatial relations. That was a period of deduction and strict assessment of values in the body of the painting, although a gentle and measured movement was being hinted at even then, through the lines of boundaries and the quantitative ratio of surfaces. A restrained move­ment crept in, whose intentions are only suggested beneath the superficial calm of established rules.

[…] Remembering a lonely landscape, maybe with a sketch in his baggage and certainly with the full heart of the lonely hiker through fields, listening to the wind, and breathing in the smell of the earth, the artist quite freely recreated the essence of his landscape, from only a few artistic elements.

[…] Milun’s works are characterized by simplicity and reduction of means, which certainly does not imply the limiting of the artistic experience. On the contrary, moving along the line which seems abstract from the point of view of figurative expression, and which from the position of the abstract imposes its reality and even realism on the viewer, the artist exploits many possibilities of achieving a pure artistic vision, without any dog­matic impoverishment or literary wearisomeness.

His medium is pastel, which he masterfully uses on canvas, giving the surfaces a particular vibration in a complete, happily discovered agreement with his own charac­ter. In Milun Mitrović’s work the pastel acquires the fullness of sound, capable of sustaining a large surface in its purest artistic meaning, and all that without the usual graphicism.

Borba, January 19, 1963.
D. (Dragan) Đorđević
Milun Mitrović
(Belgrade Cultural Centre Gallery)

[…] One could say that the landscape of his native Serbia is a permanent obsession of Mitrović’s painting. He approaches it with a hidden excitement of a man in love who is discovering truths visible only to himself, which are otherwise hidden deep under outward appearances, and also discovering secrets of the essence of being, available only to him and inaccessible to superficial examination. Excited by these discoveries, he reacts to them in different ways. Sometimes, like Gliha and Šumanović, he delves into the geological structure of the loose, fertile soil, divides up surfaces and analyses the material composition; sometimes he searches for the psychological, and sometimes for the atmospheric characteristics. He is not attracted by what man has added to nature, but by nature itself, as it is, elemental and enigmatic, seemingly calm and at the same time inconstant in its metamorphoses, in its dynamic changes — in short, by its material and psychological content […]

4 Jul, Belgrade, January 29, 1963.
Vojislav Đurović
Meaningful Decorativeness
(Milun Mitrović, painter, Belgrade Cultural Centre Gallery)

[…] These are paintings which were created spontaneously and with feeling, and which were painted with a bold, but at the same time careful and economical stroke. The artistic polish could be understood as quite the reverse of what we would like to point out as the particular value of this talented painter — an artistic and colouristic sensibility and a sense of taste, of measure, marking an artist who knows where he starts out from, what his means are, and where to stop. The moment when the brush-stroke stops is the cru­cial, fateful point for every artist. Pastel, too, is a technique which demands every­thing at once: intensity, stimulus for the painting, technique — as well as a knowl­edge of where to stop, when the work is completed, when the picture is finally created.

Politika, June 25, 1968.
P. V. (Pavle Vasić)
The Consistency of Milun Mitrović
(Museum of Modern Art Salon)

[…] At the start of these explorations, Mitrović went for the drama of horizontal and slanting lines, bringing to life their conflicts through contrasts of tones. Of all Milunović’s students, Mitrović learned most from his teacher’s work. Moreover, even today there are certain paintings that contain a virtual paraphrase of Milunović’s idiom, which is unique in its originality. Hence in the first phase, a certain density, an economy of artistic means, which resembles — per analogiam — the heroic epoch of cubism when the expression was denuded and concentrated only on what was important. As regards composition, which in these paintings plays an important role, Mitrović has likewise set a fine example of sureness and knowledge […]

Borba, June 25, 1968.
Stevan Stanić
Painters and Themes
(Museum of Modern Art Salon, Pariska 9, Belgrade)

[…] Whether it was, perhaps, in a Vojvodina art colony, some ten years ago, that Mitrović became preoccupied by the endless Bačka plain and its even more infinite sky, is of little importance today. Like an alchemist, or a haunted scientist, he has re­mained transfixed by this seemingly unchanging formula, by a seemingly identical compositional rhythm. Colour, though, passed through various phases: first there was the austerity of brown, grey and olive-green tones, then these were gradually supplemented by chocolate and warmer ochres, until these burst into velvety cin­nabar, orange and cobalt hues. His drawing, at first dominated by straight lines, flat surfaces and foundations, gave and impression of strictness. However, this harmoni­ous, geometrical order gradually started to become entangled, entwined; shapes started combining in broken masses in a truly fascinating expressive chaos. Mitrović’s eternal landscape has now acquired a part of the times we live in, a part of the speed of jet flights over the landscapes of our planet […]

Književne novine, June 22, 1968.
Miodrag Kolarić
(Museum of Modern Art Salon)

[…] The painter Milun Mitrovic is currently exhibiting in the Salon of the Museum of Modern Art.

[…] He started with landscapes and has remained faithful to them throughout his entire artistic experience, basing on them even the great change in conception, when he turned from expressionism to abstraction. This transition was not violent, or un­expected; moreover, it was a result of a firm consistency, and all those who know his Sokobanja landscapes from before 1958 will find nothing alien or imposed in his abstract canvases of today. From all this it follows that Milun Mitrovic is, above all, a colourist. This is indeed the case; colour was and has remained his exclusive and only means of expression. At least for the time being. There is no reason for doubt­ing this, except the unfounded supposition that his colouristic procedure consists of a form of tonal construction, which in his work replaces form in a characteristic manner. It is true that there is a characteristic tonal construction, and it helps the viewer to recognize Mitrovic’s works among thousands of others; however, the value of Mitrović’s procedure lies in his refined, slightly sharp sensitivity towards the pure resonance of colour […]

Aleksinac Youth Centre, September 8–14, 1973.
Stanislav Živković
Exhibition of Milun Mitrović’s Paintings

[…] We can conclude that Milun has distinguished himself as an artist of composition above all. In each of his paintings we find exceptional feeling for the laws or artistic forms, which, seemingly imitating nature, achieves the arrangement and organization of pure painterly elements. The artist instinctively discovered that behind the visible world surrounding us, there is a much more complex mechanism which preserves the harmonious balance of nature.

[…] He searches for the harmony of artistic values, expressed through the con­trast of horizontal and planting lines, flat and oval surfaces, static and dynamic mas­ses, tone and colour. At the same time he shows us that the coloured masses move, that they flow in various directions, forming pictures which are sustained in a mutual balance. Thus Mitrović’s landscapes or nudes are a rich experience, which fills and calms the viewer […]

Književne novine, January 16, 1974.
Sreto Bošnjak
Faithful to Landscapes
Milun Mitrović, Belgrade Cultural Centre Gallery

[…] Mitrović starts from a subject, from something he has seen, usually a landscape (sometimes a nude) towards which he feels nostalgic ties and devotion, in order to discover, in the result, in the construction of the painting, a balance in the stylistic union of the inspirational impulse (the landscape) and the means of expression — line, colour, texture. Mitrović’s inspiration has a specific poetic character, since land­scape does not serve him only as material for his work; he looks to it and is in love with it as a work of nature full of life and the symbolic meaning of beauty and eternity. His style, a stylization bordering on the associative, likewise springs from this attitude: the painting is composed from geometricized surfaces, often severe, energetic lines and strong strokes, but rather cerebral in the colour harmony […]

Politika, January 19, 1974.
Pavle Vasić
Milun Mitrović’s Pastels
Belgrade Cultural Centre Gallery

[…] Mitrović was one of the few artists who have painted Serbian landscapes. In that way he has managed to create an original vision of Serbia, its landscapes, hills and fields, which have already gained acceptance in our contemporary painting. In time, and especially in these past few years, Mitrović’s attitude has become ever more condensed and meaningful. He has created a work which is new from the point of view of subject, purified as regards style, seen through the prism of his individuality which brought to his painting even greater restraint, which is characteristic of our ethos.

NIN, January 27, 1974.
Đorđe Kadijević
The Line of Heritage Belgrade
Cultural Centre Gallery

[…] Thus was created Mitrović’s characteristic style in landscape painting, syn­thetic in the Milunović manner, directed at the essence, but original in its tempera­ment, more robust than that of the teacher, in some places overtly capricious, filled with a barely-contained desire for the total submission of the artistic content to the process of reduction to ’the bare essence’ which leads to the very brink of abstrac­tion. This synthesis and a priori reduction to the essential is applied equally to colour — resonant, mostly chromatic, without tonal counterpoint. The temperament changes the nature of the material: the pastel, which is thought of as a gentle, feminine technique, is here, in the Gallery of the Cultural Centre, obviously in the service of a masculine type of art.

Mitrović’s landscape, however, does not lose the qualities of the ambience, a pungent, somewhat sad atmosphere, in which we discover his personal experience of the Serbian land. […]