Mihael Stroj

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Mihael Stroj - Judith with Holofernes head Mihael Stroj - Judita s Holofernovo glavo.jpg
Mihael Stroj - Judith with Holofernes head

Mihael Stroj (30 September 1803 in Ljubno – 19 December 1871 in Ljubljana) was a Slovenian painter.

Ljubljana Capital city in City Municipality of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. It has been the cultural, educational, economic, political, and administrative centre of independent Slovenia since 1991.

Slovenia republic in Central Europe

Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, is a sovereign state located in southern Central Europe at a crossroads of important European cultural and trade routes. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest. It covers 20,273 square kilometers (7,827 sq mi) and has a population of 2.07 million. One of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia is a parliamentary republic and a member of the United Nations, of the European Union, and of NATO. The capital and largest city is Ljubljana.



Yugoslavian stamp
with Mihael Stroj's work Yugoslavian stamp - Mihael Stroj.jpg
Yugoslavian stamp
with Mihael Stroj's work

Mihael Stroj was born the fifth of eight children to Anton Stroj and his wife Marija, née Kokal. He spent his childhood in Ljubno in Upper Carniola. In 1812, his mother died of exhaustion. Shortly thereafter, his father remarried, sold his property in Ljubno and moved to Ljubljana with his family. Mihael Stroj attended the Glavna vzorna šola, where he completed the fourth class in 1817 with very good grades. He then joined the so-called artists’ class, which he concluded in 1820 with distinction. He continued his schooling in Vienna, where he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in 1821. The first of his works known to have survived, a sketch of a head and a self-portrait, date from this period. It is known that Stroj was still a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1825, but it is not known whether he concluded his studies there.

Upper Carniola

Upper Carniola is a traditional region of Slovenia, the northern mountainous part of the larger Carniola region. The centre of the region is Kranj, while other urban centers include Jesenice, Tržič, Škofja Loka, Kamnik, and Domžale. It has around 300,000 inhabitants or 14% of the population of Slovenia.

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna art school in Vienna, Austria

The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna is a public art school of higher education in Vienna, Austria. The Academy is famous outside the arts community for rejecting Adolf Hitler twice, because of his "unfitness for painting".

In 1830, Stroj spent time in Zagreb, where he offered his services to the nobility and bourgeoisie as a portraitist. Because of the numerous commissions that he received, he remained in Zagreb. He lived in Croatia (with intermittent stays in Slovenia) until 1842. In this period, he painted not only a large number of portraits, but also works with religious content, including altar pictures for churches in Vugrovec and Nova Rača.

Zagreb Capital and largest city of Croatia

Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia. It is located in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately 122 m (400 ft) above sea level. The estimated population of the city in 2018 is 810,003. The population of the Zagreb urban agglomeration is about 1.2 million, approximately a quarter of the total population of Croatia.

Croatia Republic in Central Europe

Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro to the southeast, sharing a maritime border with Italy. Its capital, Zagreb, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with twenty counties. Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometres and a population of 4.28 million, most of whom are Roman Catholics.

Vugrovec is a rural suburb of Zagreb, Croatia. It is composed of three settlements: Gornji Vugrovec, Donji Vugrovec and Vuger Selo. Vugrovec is located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) northeast of Zagreb city centre, and north of Sesvete. According to the 2011 census, the population of Donji Vugrovec is 442 people, Gornji Vugrovec is inhabited by 357 people, while Vuger Selo is home to 273 inhabitants. Vugrovec lent its name to the Vuger stream, whose source lies nearby.

In Croatia, Stroj was exposed to the ideas of Illyrism and associated with members of the Illyrian movement, including Stanko Vraz, Djuro Jelačić, the Ožegović family and others.

Illyrian movement

The Illyrian movement was a pan-South-Slavist cultural and political campaign with roots in the early modern period, and revived by a group of young Croatian intellectuals during the first half of the 19th century, around the years of 1835–1849. This movement aimed to create a Croatian national establishment in Austria-Hungary through linguistic and ethnic unity, and through it lay the foundation for cultural and linguistic unification of all South Slavs under the revived umbrella term Illyrian.

Stanko Vraz Slovene-Croatian writer

Stanko Vraz was a Slovenian-Croatian poet. He Slavicized his name to Stanko Vraz in 1836.

In 1841, Stroj married Margareta Berghaus, which whom he had five daughters. The following year, he returned to Ljubljana, where he continued to paint portraits of important members of the local bourgeoisie, although he also received further commissions from Croatia. He died in his house in Ljubljana after suffering multiple heart attacks.


Portrait of Luiza Pesjak Luiza Pesjak.jpg
Portrait of Luiza Pesjak
Angelica and Medoro (1833), a scene from the epic Orlando Furioso Mihael Stroj Angelika und Medor.jpg
Angelica and Medoro (1833), a scene from the epic Orlando Furioso

Mihael Stroj was one of the most prominent Slovenian painters of the 19th century. His art reflects the Classicism and the Romanticism of his day, but the influence of the Biedermeier style is also visible. Most of his works are oil paintings.

Classicism art movement

Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for a classical period, classical antiquity in the Western tradition, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint and compression we are simply objecting to the classicism of classic art. A violent emphasis or a sudden acceleration of rhythmic movement would have destroyed those qualities of balance and completeness through which it retained until the present century its position of authority in the restricted repertoire of visual images." Classicism, as Clark noted, implies a canon of widely accepted ideal forms, whether in the Western canon that he was examining in The Nude (1956), or the literary Chinese classics or Chinese art, where the revival of classic styles is also a recurring feature.

Romanticism period of artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that started in 18th century Europe

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.

Biedermeier art movement

The Biedermeier period refers to an era in Central Europe between 1815 and 1848, during which the middle class grew in number, and arts appealed to common sensibilities. It began with the time of the Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars and ended with the onset of the European Revolutions of 1848. Although the term itself is a historical reference, it is used mostly to denote the artistic styles that flourished in the fields of literature, music, the visual arts and interior design. It had strong roots in Vienna where it will linger for long time, and subsequently influence styles and periods to come.

Portraits of rich members of the bourgeoisie in Ljubljana and in Zagreb made up the majority of his work, although he also painted religious motives, genre works and historical themes. Some of his paintings are listed below.


Genre and historical works

Religious works


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