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Project RastkoHistory of Serb culture
TIA Janus

Dejan Medakovic

Art in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Chapter from the book
"The history of Serbian Culture"
The history of Serbian culture  


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The great migration of the Serbs in 1690 under Patriarch Arsenije III Carnojevic from the Serbian regions under Turkish rule at the time to Austrian territories along the Danube was a significant and fateful turning point in the spiritual and political life of the Serbian nation. From that time onward, the Serbs quickly became part of western European culture. Numerous complex processes fundamentally changed the entire structure of society, in which the middle class began to grow stronger. Quite naturally, numerous changes also occurred in Serbian art. Soon after the Great Migration, art among the Serbs gradually began to lose its traditional form, founded on the lengthy tradition of Byzantine art, in spite of the numerous iconographers who resisted change all the way up to the mid-eighteenth century.

Stefan Tenecki: The Circumcision of Christ, at the monastery of Krusedol

However, the main trends in Serbian art in the eighteenth century were also directed toward the regions along the Danube, where the Serbian religious and political centre finally came to rest in Sremski Karlovci (Karlowitz). That centre would spread its influence all over the ecclesiastical metropolis of Karlowitz. It was in Karlowitz - or more precisely in the court circles of Patriarch Arsenije IV Jovanovic Sakabenta - that the tastes of the high church authorities turned in favour of the Baroque-style art of the Ukraine. Representatives of that art became the court painters in the Patriarch's court in Karlowitz. Even so, all the way up to the mid-eighteenth century, the zographic style (the iconographic style of old Byzantium), which had been stunted, was actually the link which retained the continuity of Serbian art with the preceding centuries, or more precisely, with the old artistic tradition of the Balkans.

Apart from icons themselves, the zographic style was also present in the monumental art in the regions south of the Danube. Thus, for example, in 1736 a remarkable zographic composition was done in the monastery of Draca near Kragujevac. Likewise, in 1737, the old church at the monastery of Vracevsnica was done by a group of zographs from Vrsac under Andra Andrejevic, who had done the church in Mesic. The picture of Serbian art in the first half of the eighteenth century becomes even more complex if one adds the zographic art done in the region of what is now Romania at the monastery of Bezdin or the church in Lipova.

Hristifor Zefarovic: St. Eustathios and St. Menas, an icon at the monastery of Bodjani

When Hristifor Zefarovic appeared in the Serbian milieu in the 1730's, the process of breaking with the traditional artistic heritage of the past had still not taken on the elan which he would inject into it; thus, his work marked the birth of a new artistic epoch with his painting of the monastery of Bodjani in Backa in 1737. Zefarovic was the first among Serbian painters who clearly espoused the new, and certainly more liberal, understanding of form and colour. He was a master who, with his straightforward temperament, bravely set out in the attempt to subordinate the organisation of the entire painting to a colouristic freedom which was unknown to Serbian art in that form until the mid-eighteenth century. The earliest research of modern Serbian art emphasized that the iconography of Bodjani was done by a painter with an imagination and temperament which was inclined toward the new, the personal and the expressive. It was said, even at the time, that the church at Bodjani was one of the places where modern Serbian art was born.

Unknown iconographer (zograf), St. John the Baptist, icon, with scenes from his life

In the same way, just as the iconography at the monastery of Bodjani was also a real turning point in the Serbian art developing in the first three decades of the eighteenth century, the iconography of the monastery of Krusedol also represents those new artistic trends; its origins should be sought in the art of the Ukraine which was itself enhanced by the trends in western Baroque. The painting was done in the period from 1750-1751 to 1756, and its content and stylistic characteristics clearly indicate the paths which Serbian art had travelled - or more precisely, the speed with which it continued to take on a European character. Today, the genesis of the style at Krusedol is ascribed to Ukrainian painter Jov Vasilijevic, and there is much evidence to support such a claim. He was a court painter for Patriarch Arsenije IV Sakabente, and his move toward western European Baroque was doubtlessly expedited by the models he copied. It has been proven that he used illustrated Baroque bibles from Germany and Holland, including Weigel's bible, for example. Thus, the way in which the wall surfaces of Krusedol were done, clearly indicate their Baroque origins, the new spiritual climate which had already carved out a place for itself in the entire political and religious life among the re-settled Serbs in the mid-eighteenth century. Regardless of the fact that the icons in the nave of the church at Krusedol were painted by another artist in 1756 (probably by Stefan Tenecki), the spirit of Ukrainian Baroque is present there.

Teodor Ilic Cesljar: Josif Jovanovic, Bishop of Vrsac; Bishop's Palace, Vrsac

In that way, the artistry of the monastery of Krusedol, seen as a whole, is a typical monument of Serbian artistic destiny in the mid- eighteenth century. Beside Bodjani, the new age in artistic conceptions was proclaimed once again on the walls of a Serbian monastery. The force of the Ukrainian Baroque gave Serbian painting a new stimulus, halting the direct contact of Serbian art with that of the West, if only for a moment.

Under the influence of the Ukrainian Baroque, many painters were at work (Nikola Neskovic, Dimitrije Bacevic, Dimitrije Popovic, Jovan Popovic, Vasa Ostojic, Ambrosije Jankovic and Janko Halkozovic) whose artistic supremacy left deep impressions on the period between the 1750s and 1780s. A group of these painters did the most important iconostases in the territory of the Metropolis of Karlowitz during this very period.

Although the southern Russian Baroque orientation was heavily present in this area during the period from the 1750s to 1770s, a direct affinity toward western art appeared around 1750. During this period, Joakim Markovic of Buda was painting for the Serbs under the government of the general of Varazdin, in Plavsinci and Disnik, and his works reveal that he was a curious artist, a master painter who was already suggestive of the lessons of Ukrainian art. This meant that the stylistic development of Serbian art was increasingly tied to the development of all of Serbian society. Hence, it is no coincidence that the main, and most highly developed, trends in Serbian art were thereafter linked to the region of the Danube basin for there it was that the new middle class culture was begun, directed toward ending the centuries-old primacy of the Serbian church.

Nedeljko Popovic: The Mother of God with Christ, the Museum of Banat, Timisoara

In the region of the Danube, due to the influences from the Ukraine, a special variant of Serbian art had already been created in which the tendency was to turn Orthodox icons into Baroque pictures at last. This process finally produced a great master, Teodor Kracun, an artist in whose works the Baroque trend surpassed even his most mature level, inclining simultaneously toward the even newer rocaille conceptions. Teodor Kracun's dated works can be traced from 1772 onward, when he painted at the church of St. George in Sombor with the artists Jovan Isailovic and Lazar Serdanovic, all the way up to 1780 when he finished his icons at the Cathedral church in Karlowitz. In that way, his works express all the significant artistic processes among the Serbs at the time. He was a great master who was able to summarise the paths which Serbian art had travelled before, indicating its final turn toward Europe. More than half a century before Kracun's appearance on the scene the process of assimilating the Baroque in Serbian art had begun, and Byzantine aesthetics, turned from the problem of form toward ideas and feelings, now vainly tried to defend its main means of expression: line and rhythm. The compromises with the Baroque sprouted up on many sides of the vast Byzantine world. When the secrets of Baroque art took over at Karlowitz, Kracun unexpectedly turned to rococo in that same church. One gets the impression that he suddenly, self-confidently, decided to test his strength by changing his artistic handwriting.

Dimitrije Bacevic: Holy Doors, a detail, the monastery of Jazak

Thus, in Karlowitz itself, Kracun painted the most beautiful work of Serbian rococo. All those Serbian artists who would work in the new spirit during the 1780's, Jakov Orfelin and Teodor Ilic Cesljar, would be affected by the onset of classicism and would not achieve the stylistic and artistic clarity of Teodor Kracun, who overcame Byzantium at last in his iconostases. He was the painter who, of both the first and second phases, managing to depict not only the events but their spiritual background as well in his best works. It is in that very synthetic virtue of Kracun's work that the symbiosis of old Byzantine spirituality and the artistic form of the new era rests, which was to mercilessly confront all spiritual and political trends in Serbian society in the eighteenth century.

The stylistic traits of Baroque classicism and rococo are present in the work of Teodor Ilic Cesljar, a painter educated in Vienna. His activities marked the period between 1782 and 1793, when he did the iconostases in Mokrina, Stara Kanjiza, Kikinda and Backo Petrovo Selo. Formed on the achievements of western late Baroque art - it is known that he modelled his work on Vincenzo Fischer and Francesco Solimena - he quickly turned toward the rococo palette and forms which were most agreeable with his quiet, lyrically sensitive artistic temperament. Classicism, which primarily affected him because of its strict drawing demands, did not suit him, nor did the complex dramatics and pathos of the Baroque. His essential departure from classicism is also founded on colour, although when compared to Kracun he is not a painter of such high colouristic range and strength.

Painters such as Stefan Gavrilovic and Arsa Teodorovic were those with whom Serbian painted art finished up the epoch of the eighteenth century. A new artistic and aesthetic ideal was born.

Nikola Neskovic: Self-Portrait, National Museum, Belgrade

Serbian portrait art also flourished in the eighteenth century. Quite clearly, it also followed all the stylistic novelties of the new turbulent era. The primary stiffness in placing figures, the surfacing, uncertainty of lines and the naive presentation of decorative values - all was ever more withdrawn in favour of clean, artistic values and a closer psychological analysis of the models.

The development of architecture during the eighteenth century also offers significant evidence of how the new Baroque art was accepted among the Serbs. As early as 1726 high Baroque bell towers were being built at the old monasteries (Krusedol, Velika Remeta, Hopovo). Some of those towers had small chapels above the ground floor, and some of the buildings were redone in the "new architecture" (Hodos, Krusedol). The spirit of the new age seemed to be present in the recommendation of none other than Metropolitan Mojsije Petrovic from 1724, in which he wrote of the building of new churches and of their appearance. He advises that they not be low and narrow as they were under the Turkish rule, but rather "as long and wide as possible". Even so, along with the new style, the old style was very much alive, depending on the traditional forms of the so-called Morava School (the monasteries of Grabovac, Kovilj, Jazak, Beocin, the church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Karlowitz, the church in Sremska Kamenica and the monastery of Bodjani). However, the victory of Baroque architecture among the Serbs was best seen in the construction of the cathedral church of St. Nicholas in Karlowitz, the Metropolitan See. This great undertaking was done by Metropolitan Pavle Nenadovic in the period 1758-1762. Its main characteristic was its monumental facade, flanked on the west side by two massive towers in a way which was quite wide spread all over central Europe.

Jovan Popovic: The Mother of God with Christ, an icon, the church of St. Nicholas in Szeged

Thus, during the eighteenth century, an entire series of Baroque churches was built whose basic stylistic traits indicated their relatedness. The slightly divided west facade appeared, and simple pilasters, lizenes, profiled niches and wreaths were regularly used as decorative elements, whereas pillars decreased significantly in number. In a similar way, pilasters and lizenes became the main decorative elements in lively, often courageously built towers. Under the influence of central European Baroque the monk's quarters at Krusedol, Sisatovac and two other episcopal residences, at Arad-Gaj and Vrsac, were built. In that spirit, the first urbanization was also done of Serbian settlements along the Danube. Some of them would grow into powerful spiritual and economic centres (Sremska Mitrovica, Novi Sad, Szentendre, Buda).

If the most basic characteristics of Baroque architecture among the Serbs were emphasized, it seems that this basically monarchistic feudal style was accepted in its quietest middle class variant. In the simplicity and strictness of its forms, Serbian churches exactly corresponded to this expressly sought lack of decorativeness, which was demanded only later during the time of Josef II. Therefore, it is quite understandable that the Serbs accepted rococo in architecture with reluctance, almost with caution, and that elements of rococo are used only in a subordinate, decorative role; thus, those elements do not appear in the overall structure of the building, but only in certain details. Such conceptions completely opened the way for classicism.

Pavel Djurkovic: Christ Being Removed from the Cross, the church at Dunafoldvar

In that way, all that was built among the Serbs in the eighteenth century is characterised by dualism in style, the almost simultaneous appearance of traditional architectonic forms with those of the new Baroque. This duality was deeply dependent on the societal and historical development of the Serbian nation. In the extension of those trends, part of this societal process was also reflected, through which a historical and leading part was intended for the urban populace.

The trends of artistic development in Boka Kotorska were quite special, particularly after the end of the seventeenth century when this entire region fell under the rule of the Venetian Republic. The processes of ethnic and cultural symbiosis which had been going on for centuries, externalised in the constant resettlement of the population from old Herzegovina and Montenegro, continued in the eighteenth century. On the other hand, along with other regions of the Adriatic and wider Mediterranean and even further, Boka Kotorska came into contact with a variety of artistic stimuli due to its maritime activities. Historically a bi-confessional region, Boka Kotorska was destined to offer a remarkable image of the comparatively tolerant coexistence of the Catholics and the Orthodox. The best support of this claim is to be found in the monastery church of Savina near Herzeg Novi. Its construction was begun in 1777 and finished in 1799. The monks invited Nikola Foretic, a builder from Korcula, to build this Orthodox church. He and his associates gave the church an eclectic character. Raised in the tradition of the Dalmatian Romanesque and Gothic, and no less with Renaissance and Baroque inclinations, Foretic applied certain elements of the past epochs to the church of the monastery of Savina, finishing the single-nave structure with a massive octagonal cupola, surrounded with a ring of small, free-standing pillars. In that way, with this cupola, the church took on the final appearance of an Orthodox church.

Teodor Kracun: The Nativity of the Mother of God, from the choir screen at Karlowitz, now in the Gallery of the Matica srpska

Traditional iconography was fostered by painters from the Rafailovic Dimitrijevic family, and the head is generally thought to be "zograf Dimitrije Daskal", who was first mentioned as early as 1689 on the icons of the Deesis in the church of St. Luke in Kotor. He did the icons of the church of St. George in Sisici as early as 1692. His most important work was done in 1717-1718, in the church at Pelinovo (Grbalj), where he did the icons of the life of St. Nicholas, the Mother of God, and finally the entire Menology. Also, during the eighteenth century, and even into the first decades of the nineteenth century, iconographers from this family were at work. Their painting, considered as a whole, remained conservative and resistant to change to the very end.

The priest Simeon Lazovic and his son Aleksije continued the work of the traditional masters. In their case as well, it was shown once again that the spirit of a powerful art form, such as the Baroque and the mannerist art of Venice, did not necessarily have to destroy and defeat the artistic heritage of a particular region which had arisen from other spiritual tendencies.

Unknown author: The Mother of God with Christ, icon, near the monastery of Lepavina

Finally, the infusion of the Baroque into Serbian society in the eighteenth century, the main propagators of which were the Serbian bourgeoisie and church, represents a period of western orientation in Serbian society, in spite of the round- about ways in which that style was accepted into that society. In that process, Serbian art created works which can properly be characterised as a national variant of that art and those tendencies, a variant which significantly differs from similar phenomena in the vast regions of Orthodox art. This all confirms the idea that the Baroque was also one of the most important political and social turning points for the Serbs, one of the cornerstones of modern Serbian culture.


The era of Baroque ecclesiastical artwork carried on in the nineteenth century among the Serbs, just as it did in Austria. The changes which unavoidably occurred were related to the stylistic inclinations of a truly powerful group of Viennese Nazarenes, whose influence penetrated into the art of the Serbs as well. However, those changes did not affect only church art. They affected secular art as well, primarily by fostering the art of portrait painting. As such, the greatest sway would be held by the followers of Classicism and, quite understandably, the Viennese variant of it known as Biedermeier. From the end of the eighteenth century up to the 1880s, the close ties of Serbian art with that of Vienna will be the main identifying trait of the former. The consequences of this trend were that Serbian painters squelched their own original creativity in their attempts to be as faithful as possible to their Viennese professors. Even so, in spite of the merciless school programmes, it is difficult to deny the fact that Serbian painters in that period retained their inherent colouristic feeling. The greatest value of nineteenth century Serbian art was actually based on its use of colour. This colouristic sensitivity can be already be observed in the work of Arsa Teodorovic, Pavel Djurkovic and Nikola Aleksic, and especially in the work of Konstantin Danil, doubtlessly the greatest painter of the Serbian Biedermeier style. In an artistic sense, these artists were naive and sophisticated at the same time, and their sense of colour was clearly an extension of a tradition in Serbian art lasting for centuries. The originality of their conceptions was manifested in the way in which they approached portrait art. The younger members of urban society sat before these painters almost timidly and apprehensively, the main representatives of the state officials, the military and merchant class. Moreover, even a capricious autocrat such as Milos Obrenovic can barely be differentiated in his portrait from an insignificant customs official or a nouveau riche merchant in the urban settlements along the Danube. Even the way in which they dressed was characterised by a combination of urban and peasant dress, so that it any attempt at establishing the social ranking of the subjects is difficult.

Novak Radonic: The Death of Prince Marko, Gallery of the Matica srpska, Novi Sad

At the beginning of the 1840s, Serbian painting gradually departed from its classicistic Biedermeier severity. It also departed from the primary pretentiousness which characterised the stylistic ideals of the more highly educated segment of Serbian society. It seemed that the portraits were losing their suitable psychological reliability which was based on an emphatic sense for analytical clarity. A calm, almost unobtrusive transition toward Romanticism was made, which had an affect on all the art done in contemporary Austria. That was a time when, after the revolution of 1848 was crushed, a bureaucratic-police reaction occurred, known as the era of the omnipotent chief of police, Alexander Bach. However, all the weaknesses of the multi-national state were constantly coming to the surface. Even the new dual monarchy offered no final solution. Because of that, it is no coincidence that the old variant of Classicism known as the Biedermeier was retained in the paintings of the times, and that without the heroic and almost monumental pathos and valiant drama which was present in the French artwork of Géricault and Delacroix. Serbian historical artwork was limited in its rational construction. At times it was even anecdotal or naive in character. The compositions leave the impression that they were taken from the naive direction of the Serbian Romantic theatre. There is a recognisable tendency for the viewer to be caught up in the patriotic content of these paintings.

Konstantin Danil: Portrait of Petar Jagodic, Gallery of the Matica srpska, Novi Sad

The most wide-ranging romantic-historical artistic programme was done in the church of the monastery of Kuvezdin in the mid-nineteenth century. Although the Croatian fascists destroyed the wall paintings together with the church and monk's quarters during World War II, the content of those paintings is known in great detail. There were scenes from the life of St. Sava, done according to the conceptions of Archimandrite Nikanor Grujic who ordered the paintings. The archimandrite was a famous patriotic poet of the Romantic era. Grujic entrusted the painting of these monumental paintings to a painter from Novi Sad named Pavle Simic. Simic was a student of the Viennese school and there he accepted the artistic teachings of the Nazarenes. Thus, the compositions lost their original dramatic force, and their unity was also shattered, a unity which had been realised through the use of light-dark effects. Once again the inclination of Serbian painters for the Vienna school variant of Classicism was repeated, this time that of the Nazarenes. It was extremely naive to introduce religious scenes done with the aid of supplements taken from illustrated bibles, like that of Karolsfeld, into Serbian artwork; it was even more naive to apply their compositional plans to Serbian historical paintings.

This style was surpassed by artistic temperaments such as that of Djura Jaksic. While studying in Vienna, Jaksic felt the substantial and formal exhaustion of Viennese Classicism, and his resistance was caused by his powerful sensitivity to colour, unseen in Serbian artwork before that time. Thus it could be that Jaksic, looking for his artistic model among the galleries in Vienna, embraced Rembrandt, delighted above all by the play of light and shadow in the works of the great Dutchman. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Serbian Romanticism reached its peak in Jaksic's work in the period between 1850 and 1870.

Finally, it was in this period that the first serious changes occurred in the conceptualization of the landscape. It had always played a subordinate, supporting role in Serbian artwork and was never transformed into an independent form of artistic expression. Paintings with the pure landscape themes appeared during the Romantic period among highly skilled portrait painters such as Novak Radonic and Steva Todorovic, and the graphic artist Anastas Jovanovic. Apart from the painting of portraits, the Romanticist patriots exhausted themselves mostly by the painting of church iconostases and, to a lesser extent, with historical paintings taken from the recent and not so recent past.

Djura Jaksic: Portrait of Director Ciric, National Museum, Belgrade

After 1870, the appearance of painters educated in Munich represented another landmark in Serbian painting. It was also characterised by the acceptance of landscape as an independent art form. The influence of the Munich painting school would extend all the way up to the creation of Serbian modern art from 1900 to the Second World War. Through the mediation of Munich, various influences of European Realism will appear in Serbian artwork, the ideas of the French Barbizon school, even the lessons of the Dutch from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Such painters were attracted by the painting of still life and village genre scenes, and they did them by applying tone solutions and a muffled range of colours. In these pictures dark, green, red and silver-grey colours come to the surface. Students from the Munich school became the main representatives of this conception: Milos Tenkovic, Djordje Krstic, and Djordje Milovanovic.

In Tenkovic's painting, light is given a new role, although this light was reconstructed later in studio, and not in nature itself. Djordje Krstic, a bit younger than Tenkovic, resided in Munich from 1873 to 1878. His second period, from 1879 to 1883, was one of the most productive in his life. His artistic style was changed at that time, and this is visible in the application of wide brush strokes. This gave his paintings a feeling of speed and strength. With his dark colours, or more precisely - with his quick and unusual harmonising of colour, Krstic surprised the people of Belgrade. He equivocated between tone and colouristic solutions, gradually growing closer to the colouristic, in which lies the greatest value of his artwork.

Djordje Milovanovic: Still Life, National Museum, Belgrade

If these observations about Djordje Krstic are summarised, it can be said that the Realism of the Munich conceptualisation and its main principles was the foundation for his artwork. To be precise, he was the greatest realistic painter among the Serbia, and he coupled such opposites as Romanticism and Realism in his works. The influence of Romanticism was constantly present in many of his works. Only a dedicated romanticist was capable of drawing close to the world of Baroque drama, and thus to conjure up something restless and visionary in his contrasts of light and dark.

When making observations about Serbian art in the nineteenth century, the general social milieu should not be overlooked. It should not be forgotten that after 1879, the political and cultural life was even more powerfully permeated with the development of the Serbian state, which from then on became an equal member of the family of sovereign European states. In spite of numerous societal contradictions, Serbia persistently strove forth in many processes, toward its complete transformation into a European state. In that way, Serbian painters were faced with a variety of dilemmas caused by their education at the Munich Academy on one hand and the demands of their patrons on the other. Such opposites unavoidably led to certain compromises not only in terms of content, but also in terms of artistry. These were the reasons the historical art of the Serbs was confronted with new tasks and challenges. Thus, at the end of the century, paintings were done in large format, pompous pictures from the national past. Examples of this form were the pictures: The Great Migration under Arsenije III Carnojevic in 1690, the work of Pavle Jovanovic in 1896; The Proclamation of the Serbian Empire, the work of Jovanovic in 1900; and The Entry of Tsar Dusan into Dubrovnik, a canvass by Marko Murat also done in 1900.

Pavle Simic: The Ascension of Christ, the church of St. George in Sombor

However, in spite of all the official orders and support of the state authorities, side by side with these tendencies, other artistic processes were developing unchecked. So, in the 1890s a cosmopolitan- mondaine type appeared which had never been seen before, powerful enough to dilute the possible cutting edge of Realism. It is interesting that Serbian realists at the end of the century were almost completely deaf to the earlier appearance of European Impressionism, a trend which was not followed before the first decades of the twentieth century. However, even though Serbian artists at the end of the nineteenth century did not choose pure Impressionism, this does not mean that those trends which include pleinairistic art were unknown among the Serbs, and the appearance of the artistic signals represented by the Munich Secession. A lone messenger of this trend was the painter Leon Kojen. Educated in Munich, Kojen attempted, quite within the spirit of Hans von Mares, to create his own cycle about human life, equating its changes with those of the four seasons. Many of Kojen's pictures leave the impression of great dreaminess, as if they were surfacing from a long lost dream.

Milos Tenkovic: Landscape with Cows, National Museum, Belgrade

The sculpture of the nineteenth century, up to the appearance of Auguste Rodin - even more so than painting - developed under the powerful influence of the classical period. The classicist principles which were long fostered among European sculptors turned toward the acceptance of those ideals which were nurtured by the Florentine renaissance. The tendency of combining was clearly emphasised, although in the mid-nineteenth century a whole series of European artists will unambiguously choose to follow the creations of Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen.

These indications, all the way up to the appearance of the revolutionary plastics of Rodin, also represented fairly cautious steps in Serbian sculpture, whose more significant development occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century. That was the time when Belgrade became the centre of Serbian art. One of the clear reasons for the tardiness of Serbian sculpture was the fact that this form of art was completely disregarded within the artwork of the Orthodox church. The church had lent its efforts toward painting and architecture. The strengthening of the Serbian state finally had an influence on the development of Serbian sculpture in the nineteenth century. Petar Ubavkic was certainly the founding father of Serbian sculpture. He was a representative of the "intimate form", educated in Munich and Rome, and he subordinated his creativity to the wishes of his patrons, who demanded that he create monumental plastics; primarily he was charged with creating an entire series of public monuments. Without any real predecessors, Petar Ubavkic was directed exclusively by his own artistic instinct and, quite clearly, toward realistic expression. Yet, through his voluminous work, Ubavkic laid the groundwork for those who would follow. Among them, the sculptor Djordje Jovanovic stands out as the author of over 300 pieces, mostly monuments, statues, medals and plaques. He was aware of Rodin's plastics and also of the demands of the Secession, tendencies which would appear in his abundant works from time to time. Yet, when all is said and done, Jovanovic built his works on the strict principles of Neo-Classicist and academic sculpting, with an unconcealed determination for clarity and harmony, precisely as it had been taught him by his professors in Munich.

Uros Predic: Refugees of Herzegovina, National Museum, Belgrade

The quick development of Serbian architecture along completely European lines was also dependent on the fast development of the Serbian state. From the mid-nineteenth century onward, at least in terms of the Principality of Serbia, it was clear that the day of the old Balkan architects (mostly from the southern Balkans) had decisively come to an end. Engineers and architects educated in the West brought the contemporary styles of Europe into Serbia. Hence, until the appearance of the Secession, the so-called historical styles would dominate, Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Baroque, along with certain elements of what hinted at the creation of a Serbian national style. The main representatives of these tendencies were the Slovak Jan Nevole, Aleksandar Bugarski, Andrija Vukovic, Kosta Sretlovic, Kosta A. Jovanovic, Jovan Ilkic and Svetozar Ivaskovic. Stimulated by history, they would overwhelmingly dominate until a new generation of Serbian architects appeared, whose ideas were linked to the Secession. In its appearance as well, tendencies toward the discovery of original Serbian architectonic teachings were evident. The main representatives of this generation were Branko Tanazevic and Nikola Nestorovic.

Petar Ubavkic: Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic, National Museum, Belgrade

In conclusion, it should be emphasized that European artistic trends left a fundamental mark on Serbian architecture from the second half of the nineteenth century to the appearance of the youngest generation of architects. They would appear in public life after the end of World War I.

// Projekat Rastko / The history of Serbian culture //
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