Born in Zrenjanin in 1961, Ljubomir Popadic was destined to paint. He graduated from the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in Novi Sad in the former Yugoslavia at a time when the local art trends dictated a somber, abstract, and modern vision – obviously not something that spoke to his heart. After studying with the highly esteemed professor Jovan Rakidzic, his acceptance into the ULUCG - Association of Visual Artists of Montenegro, did not come as a surprise, rather it seemed a given for someone of such talent.
Art academies are something more prevalent in sophisticated and aged cultures outside the U.S. They are familiar to us most often through reference to works of deceased painters and their careers and achievements. Art academies are familiar to us as institutions from the past.
However, we need to consider that in many parts of the world, the true Art Academy is still vital. An academician to this day is still a most prestigious and highly coveted position for an artist. Finally, a measure of quality and acceptance not based solely on commercial success, but on a certain highly thought out criteria that ultimately serve as a standard. Yes, someone qualified to publicly judge a piece of art.
Such has been the career of Academician Ljubomir Popadic whose work you are enjoying. He comes from a part of the world vaguely familiar to us. The romance of the local ports embracing the Adriatic Sea and its weary sailors to rest has a rich, full history. In the tiny laid-back port of the Bay of Kotor, Ljubomir chooses to capture primarily two subjects of interest from life. The first, which we are exploring, is the traditional and very classical still life. These paintings convey the deep tradition of hospitality typical of the people of the Balkans. In them, you discover time-weathered maps hung on old walls, the room lit by candlelight, the skilled compass maker or the retired sea captain with his memories scattered about. Some of Ljubomir’s compositions are as simple as an arrangement of fruit casually strewn about or a collection of woven baskets or kilims of regional motifs.
The second subject is historic depiction of times past and life according to the sea its many captains, sailors, and transitory characters. Included in these exceptional pieces, one often finds historically accurate objects connected to life at sea; maps, scopes, uniforms, compasses, etc., meticulously depicted; so much so that one never tires of examining them.