Last work of Serbian genius shot by Ustashas: What Sava hid in his painting "The Pickers"
In an amazing video, you'll find out what he hid and wove into the painting, so we could manage to decipher it years later
In the area adjacent to the old Orthodox cemetery in Sremska Mitrovica, Ustashas executed some 150 innocent men, women and children from Sid, including Sava Sumanovic, a 41-year-old painter. They were all thrown into a mass grave. At the time of his arrest the painting "Beracice" ("The Pickers") was left on his easel, which he had just finished. It is today exhibited in the Memorial Gallery in Sid.
This painting hides an incredible secret, and it may even hide the fact that Sava Sumanovic knew that Ustashas would come for him. And what hidden signs he left behind, see in the video above.
ARREST AND EXECUTION - Sava was arrested on August 28 early in the morning, when he was asked to get ready, took a bath, collected his things, kissed his mother, and left.
According to testimonies, Ustashas first brutally beat the prisoners and then sentenced them to death.
They were executed in the light of torches, near the already dug grave - they were either shot in the back of the head, or were forced to lie in the grave and then be shot. The bodies were then covered with lime and soil.
There is a document in the Srem Museum in Sremska Mitrovica that testifies to the killing of Sumanovic. It is a response to a request by Persida Sumanovic, the artist's mother, to release her son from custody.
Only two months after Sava was shot dead, she received a response from the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), that is, its Ustasha Surveillance Service, that said Sava Sumanovic had been sentenced to death and killed. The letter ends with the Ustasha greeting "For home ready" ("Za dom spremni").
EVEN TOUGH HE DIED, HIS MOTHER STILL MADE HIS BED - According to testimonies, Persida Sumanovic had a hard time dealing with the death of her only son, and for years continued to set a plate for him at the table and make his bed, refusing to accept that he was gone.
Prior to his execution, in a letter to a friend, written in 1934, Sumanovic predicted 1942 as the year of his death.
In 1960, a memorial park was built at the site of the horrific executions in Sremska Mitrovica. On the 10th anniversary of the execution, Sumanovic's mother donated his remaining works to Sid in order for a Memorial Gallery to be opened.
Sava Sumanovic was born on January 22, 1896 in Vinkovci, where his father worked as a forestry engineer. After four years the family moved to Sid.
800 OIL PAINTINGS AND MORE THAN 400 DRAWINGS - He attended the high school in Zemun, where he started to develop an interenst in arts. Although his father wanted his son to become a lawyer, Sava enrolled in the Higher School of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, from which he graduated with top honors in 1918.
He started out as an impressionist, then fell under the influence of Cubism and finally settled on colorist understandings of the Paris School, while some art historians place his works within artistic spaces ranging from Cubism through poetic realism to moderate expressionism.
The creative opus of the great painter comprises about 800 oil paintings and more than 400 drawings, watercolors, gouaches and pastels.
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