Serbian Arts

Serbian art, in the narrower sense the art of the Serbs in western Southeast Europe, in the broader sense the art in the area of Serbia. See iamhigher for Serbia population and languages.

Middle Ages to Baroque: Serbian art began with the Christianization of the Serbs by Eastern missionaries (9th century), whereby it was determined from the beginning by a religious and Eastern character. The influence of existing early Christian and early Byzantine monuments was of particular importance. The heyday of Serbian art in the Middle Ages (it reached its peak in the 14th century) was due to the position of the Serbian empire, which borders on Byzantium in the east and the Adriatic in the west, and its state development.

Since independence from Byzantium in 1180, the Nemanjid dynasty favored courtly and monastic architecture in which Western Romanesque influences initially overlaid the prevailing Byzantine tradition. Stephan Nemanja, the founder of the Serbian state, had the church and monastery built in Studenica in 1183–96, where he and his successors were buried. The churches, which initially consisted of a single nave long house with a dome over a square drum, were further developed in Raszien, the Serbian heartland, with two small apses on both sides of the main apse and low vestibules (as in Studenica). This group also includes the monastery churches in Žiča near Kraljevo (consecrated in 1208; seat of the first Serbian archbishopric), in Sopoćani (before 1263), the apostle church of the patriarchal monastery in Peć (mid-13th century), two lateral ones in the 14th century Churches were added, and, as the most perfect of this type, the monastery church in Dečani (between 1327 and 1335) with a three-aisled, three-apse presbytery, a five-aisled nave with a high dome and a three-aisled atrium; the alternating layers of lighter and darker stone on the outside and the blind arcades under the roof are reminiscent of Romanesque buildings; the main architect Fra Vita was a Franciscan from Kotor. A second group are the churches in southern Serbia, the center of state administration since King Stephen Uroš II Milutin (1282-1321). The Byzantine component increased among them. Their basic scheme is the cross, more rarely with an extended arm; around the main dome are four lower ones (church of the Gračanica monastery near Priština, between 1311/12 and 1321; church of Archangel Michael in Lesnovo, around 1341). The churches of the third group, in the Morava valley (Morava school), the last independent Serbian area in the early 15th century, have a three-icon complex in common (church of the monastery Ravanica near Ćuprija, founded in 1381; church of the monastery Manasija in Resava, 1407-18; Kalenić monastery church, early 15th century). They are also characterized by colored brick decorations and sculptural decoration in bas-relief technique.

Serbian painting developed under the dominant influence of Byzantine painting. The frescoes in Ohrid (especially Sophienkirche and Mother of God Church) and in Nerezi (monastery church of St. Pantaleon, 1164) are still purely Byzantine. The first Serbian frescoes with large-figure compositions were created in 1208/09 in the Church of Our Lady in Studenica. In the period that followed, two styles of painting developed, which appear side by side in the Trinity Church in Mileševo: an antique court style with a gold background and a monastic style with blue grounds, which is most clearly shown in the Apostles’ Church of the former patriarchal monastery in Peć (around 1250). Serbian painting reached its climax in the Trinity Church of the Sopoćani Monastery (1263–68) with large-figure free monumental compositions. Stephan Uroš II. Milutins, Michail Astrapas and Eutychios, Entrance into Serbian painting. They were, among others. active in Prizren (Metropolitan Church Bogorodica Ljeviška, 1310–13), in the Studenica Monastery (King’s Church, 1314) and in the Staro Nagoričane Monastery (near Kumanovo, between 1316 and 1318); they covered the walls with many small scenes full of moving figures and expanded the iconography. This style, which culminated in the wall paintings of the monastery church of Gračanica (completed in 1321), then escalated into overloaded depictions, as in parts of the fresco program carried out by Greek-Dalmatian masters in the church of Dečani (1335–50). While Italian-Byzantine influences are noticeable in the frescoes of the Marko monastery near Skopje (after 1371), the more clear painting of the Morava school in the early 15th century is approaching. Century increasingly the western international style of Gothic. – Under the Ottoman rule, painting flourished again after the restoration of the Patriarchate of Peć (1557), for example in the church porches of Peć (1561) and Studenica (1568). – Icon painting is of secondary importance in Serbian art. In the 14th century, a comparatively realistic Dalmatian and a strictly Byzantine direction can be distinguished. Miniature painting was cultivated in the Serbian monasteries, especially on Mount Athos, where the traditions of Byzantine painting are carried on to this day. – In the 18th century, the European Baroque spread in various areas of the former Greater Serbian Empire, most notably in Slovenia, but also in the Danube region, in Vojvodina. – Under the Ottoman rule, painting flourished again after the restoration of the Patriarchate of Peć (1557), for example in the church porches of Peć (1561) and Studenica (1568). – Icon painting is of secondary importance in Serbian art. In the 14th century, a comparatively realistic Dalmatian and a strictly Byzantine direction can be distinguished. Miniature painting was cultivated in the Serbian monasteries, especially on Mount Athos, where the traditions of Byzantine painting are carried on to this day. – In the 18th century, the European Baroque spread in various areas of the former Greater Serbian Empire, most notably in Slovenia, but also in the Danube region, in Vojvodina. – Under the Ottoman rule, painting flourished again after the restoration of the Patriarchate of Peć (1557), for example in the church porches of Peć (1561) and Studenica (1568). – Icon painting is of secondary importance in Serbian art. In the 14th century, a comparatively realistic Dalmatian and a strictly Byzantine direction can be distinguished. Miniature painting was cultivated in the Serbian monasteries, especially on Mount Athos, where the traditions of Byzantine painting are carried on to this day. – In the 18th century, the European Baroque spread in various areas of the former Greater Serbian Empire, most notably in Slovenia, but also in the Danube region, in Vojvodina.

19th century: In addition to classicist portraiture (Pavel Djurkovič, * 1772, † 1830?), History painting with national themes (Novak Radonič, * 1826, † 1890) and realistic tendencies (Djordje Milovanovič, * 1850, †) developed in painting. 1919). In architecture, which has produced numerous buildings based on the Turkish model since the 16th century (including mosques), buildings in the style of classicism and historicism, especially Viennese style, emerged from the middle of the 19th century (National Theater in Belgrade, 1868-69, by Aleksandar Bugarski, * 1835, † 1891). Later the Viennese Secession style also played a role (Hotel Moskva, 1907, by Jovan Ilkič, * 1857, † 1917).

Modern and present: In the interwar period, in addition to national traditions, v. a. Western European influences important. They showed up in architecture e.g. B. with Momir Korunovič (* 1883, † 1969; Ministry of Post in Belgrade, 1926–30) and »Grupa arhitekata modernog pravcac« (especially Milan Zlotkovič, * 1898, † 1965). Elements of functionalism used inter alia. Ivan Antič (* 1923, † 2005) for the Museum of Modern Art in Belgrade (1965) and Mihailjo Mitrovič (* 1922) for the »Genex Center« in Belgrade (1980).

The same applies to the development of the visual arts (Petar Dobrovič, * 1890, † 1942; Djordje Andrejevic-Kun, * 1904, † 1954, of Polish origin; Nadežda Petrovic, * 1873, † 1915; artist group »Zivot«, »Leben«) as well as experimental photography, among others represented by Vane Živadonovič-Bor (* 1909, † 1994), who moved to England in the early 1940s.

Closer contacts to European metropolises have had an impact on the post-avant-garde since the 1960s (Dušan Otaševič, * 1940; Miodrag Protič, * 1922, † 2014; Radomir Damnjanovič-Damnjan, * 1936, in Milan since 1974). The same applies to Petar Lubarda (* 1907, † 1974), who was already active in the 1930s. Aleksandar Petrovič (* 1929, † 1994) is particularly successful in the field of new film. a. Miroljub Todorovič (* 1940). In the post-communist society after 1990, the retro avant-garde appropriated Western art, placing a special emphasis on dealing with the topic of cultural and historical identification. Among the most important representatives of this direction are the artists Marina Abramovič (* 1946), Vladimir Nicolič (* 1974), Tanja Ostojič (* 1972) and Milica Tomič (* 1960), who lives in Amsterdam and New York.

Serbian Arts

About the author