If the painter had not written down the date on this canvas with his own hand, one could easily date it several decades back. The main reason for this was the very manner of the artist’s approach to the theme his favourite motif: a view from the river bank. The theme itself allows for the manifestation of impressionistic effects of light refraction and the breaking up of the colour spectrum, an unusual interest in a painting which was created almost in the middle of the twentieth century. The painter was consistent to his usual role models, the French painters of light on water, Monet and Sisley.
Due to his unique colouristic play, he achieved the impression of shimmering light, permeated with the colours of the river boats and the blue of the sky, on the narrow strip of water in the foreground. Even with the knowledge that light effects represent the artist’s primary interest, it is clear that it was not the only thing he wanted to communicate with this painting. The boats he painted, extraordinarily numerous considering the war, like a festive regatta, one after the other are sailing in the same direction, as if in a film-like motion within a frame. The painter wanted to use their movement to suggest the movement of the water, the inexorable flow of the mighty river, which not even the dreary war years could impede its course towards its estuary. The cheerfulness of the sight is disrupted by a complete absence of human beings: the boats are hauntingly empty, which suggests that something is amiss, that some evil destiny has shrouded the scene. The general impression of unease is supported by two small boats, hopelessly stranded on the bank, with their prows facing the observer.


  • Title: Boats on the Danube
  • Creator: Aleksandar Kumrić
  • Date Created: 1942
  • Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings: signed in the bottom right corner: КУМРИЋ 942 inscription on the back: Сликано 1942. год
  • Provenance: The painting was among 185 artworks Pavle Beljanski donated to the nation in 1957.
  • Physical Dimensions: w43.5 x h32.6 cm
  • Exhibition History: since 1961 - the permanent exhibition of The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection, Novi Sad;2011 - the exhibition The Collection of Pavle Beljanski: Back in Belgrade, Gallery of the Military Club, Belgrade
  • Type: Oil on Cardboard
  • Rights: The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection, The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection
  • External Link: http://www.pavle-beljanski.museum/en/artwork.php?artwork=58
  • Medium: Oil on Cardboard

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