Serbian Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions

Figure 1.--Paja Jovanovic (1859-1957) painted a historical recreation of a triumphal medieval scene, "Marriage of Tzar Dulan" in 1906. There are page boys and two other children wearing tunics and capes. The page boy is in light green.

Serbia was a medieval Christian kingdom. Serbian art has been affected by important artistic movements. Serbian painting as was the case in much of mediebal Chriendom evolved as part of church architecture and the tradition of decoratingthe church walls built by novels and kings. This was common in the Balkans, but we see major Renaissance artists doing frescos in Italy as well. These church paintings evolved from Byzantine art that however originated from a Hellenic tradition. There was a great deal of wall painying in Rome even before Christianity. Serbia was conquered by the Ottoman Empire (14th century). This occured just as Western Europe was enteringthe the Renaissance. The Serbs were conquuered by the Ottomans after the battle of Kosovo Polje (1389). We know nothing about Serbia's art history during the Ottoman era. Serbian art has been influenced by both East and the West. We can't say that we see a destinctive character in Serbian art, but this isprobably because we know so little. One source writes, "Serbian painting was influenced by both sides and it turned into the art recognizable by its uniqueness and grandeur. This art was inseparably connected to history, culture and literature of Serbia in the Middle ages." The Great Serb Migration under Patriarch Arsenije III Čarnojević appears to have been the point when Serbs started be attracted to the West-European artistic culture and Baroque art. At the time Serbia was part of the Ottoman Empire. Serbia emerged from the Ottoman Empire (19th century). Serbian artists at this time were especially attracted to Romanticism. We see a wider artistic development in the 20th century with Serbian artists incvolved in Surrealism, Cubism, Expressionism and Neo-classicism. With the victory of the Communists during World War II, soc-realistic became the government sanction style, although Serbians and other Yugoslav artists had more leeway rgan in the Soviet Empire. We have found some paintings by Serbian artiss, but we do not yet know much about them.

Jovan Bijelic (1886-1963)

Another Serbian painter is Jovan Bijelic (1886-1963). We know nothing about him at this time. A Yugoslav movie was made about him with his name as a title (1958). We note one of his paintings etitled 'Petite Dubravka' which we do not yet understand. This image has us puzzled. It is autumn because the child is wearing a scarf and jersey. The child wears a hat. The child's hair appears to be cut short. The facial appearance suggest a boy. The child looks to be aged about 9 or 10. It also seems that a dress is being worn . the white ankle socks and black strap shoes suggest the subject is a girl. I am not sure if Dubravka is the name of a village or the child. If it is a name we are unsure if is a boy's or girl's name. We are not sure if it pictures a boy or girl. history.

Jovan Isajlovi (1803-85)

We note a painting of the Serbian royal family by Jovan Isajlovi (1803-85). Prince Milan is on his death bed. The entire royal family is there. Women on the right and men and boys on the left. The boy is wearing a dark suit. His father is the brother of the dead prince. Behind him is the father. We know nothing about the artist at this time. Serbia at the time was just emrging from Ottoman rule. Serbs at the time did not have art schools anbd were just beginning to restablish commercial and intelectual ties with Christian Europe. Thus the painting is not done by a master artist and ha the look of a naive painting.

Uroš Knežević (1811–76)

Uroš Knežević (1811–76) (Урош Кнежевић) was a Serbian artist. He was born the town of Sremski Karlovci in Vojvodina (Thiswas then part of the Austrian Empire, now part of northrn Serbia on the border with Hungary.) Thus unlike most Serbs his early expriences were Western. Most of Serbia was contolled by the Ottoman Empire. Art was only one area impacted, but arguabbly most signifivantly impacted bcause of the huge difference between Ottoman (Islamic) and Western art. His father was Teodor and mother Julijana. Even though he lived and worked mostly in Serbia, his life story is not well known. He was engaged with art from childhood. He attended the Sremski Karlovci gymnasium (secondary school). He moved from from Austrian Vojvodina to Serbia (1834). With only secondary school drawing instruction. He fond it difficult to make a living. After centuries of Ottoman control, Serb had no aprreciation of Western art. He painted portraits of the local nobility and prominent citizens, but reports that he hadtrouble getting paid for his efforts. Not only did he have trouble making a living, he could not save the money needed to study in Vienna--which he desperately wanted. He even had trible gettingbpaid for the work he completed for the Royal Family. Finally he found a relaible patron--the Church. He began painting walls and icons for Belgrade churches. Hewas thus able save thebmomey needed to study art in Vienna, a majpr goal. He describes his period of study in Vienna as a very happy time. He was was honored by being allowed to exhibit at the Viennese Art Exhibition (1846). For whatever reason, however, the Viennese Royal Art Academy has no record of his presence. He was primarily a portraitist and is considered the foremost Serbian portraitist (19th century). He has left an incredable record of Serbian leaders and notables during the era that Sebia was fighting for its freedom and independence (mid-19th centurty). We see Serbian leaders earing modern estern clothing, luxurious outfits with gold braid and richly embroidered. Almost all of his portraits are of important are well-to-do adults, but we have found a few portraits of children. Knežević died in Belgrade (1876).

Lukic-Jelesic, Mara (1885-1979)

Another important Serbian artist is Mara Lukic-Jelesic. He painted in the impressionist style, focusing on the colors and light. Some of his works more realistic than others. We notice one portrait of an unidentified boy. Lukic-Jelesic painted it after returning from Paris, anout 1925. dates from 1925. The artist was Serbian. It was painted after Mara returned from Paris. Tt is part of a collection of art works donated to The National Museum Belgrade by Ljubica Petrovic-Lukovie after she died (1979).

Paja Jovanovic (1859-1957)

Paja Jovanovic was born in 1859. Paja childhood was spent in Versec. He left his birth place when he was 15 years old to go to Vienna He became one of Serbia’s most famous painters. He is best known for his historical paintings. Belgrade museum holds 211 works. These include paintings, drawings and photographs. His paintings can be found in many European museums. His famous works include 'Serbian Migration', 'Crowning of Stephan Dusan', and 'Fencing'. He painted a historical recreation of a triumphal medieval scene, 'Marriage of Tzar Dulan' in 1906 (figure 1). There are page boys and two other children wearing tunics and capes. The page boy is in light green. The Tzar is well beloved still. Under his kingship medieval Serbia was a much bigger country than it is now. It extended to the Ottoman border and present day Bulgaria was then part of Serbia.


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Created: 9:39 PM 9/24/2006
Last updated: 7:20 PM 10/14/2019