Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Art in Serbia stems back to Medieval times. Like much of European art during this time, most of it was centered around the church. Frescos done in Byzantine and Italian styles were especially common. One known as “The White Angel” is the most famous: it was the first satellite image from Europe to America as a message of civility and peace. It was also used in trying to reach aliens. (We’ve gone downhill in civilization since that was painted apparently.)

Once the Ottomans arrived, they took the fun out of art. There just wasn’t a lot going on. The Baroque period took it back in the right direction, and painters started picking up the brush again. The 1800s saw a huge rise in a number of different artistic styles and themes, like Romanticism (like Katarina Ivanovic), Neoclassicism (like Pavel Durkovic), Realism, Symbolism, and Biedermeier (a Serbian art movement aimed at an awareness of family and home).
"Death of a Poor Woman" by Katarina Ivanovic
Right around the turn of the 20th century, the first art schools began popping up. Many artists were still traveling elsewhere in Europe to learn painting and sculpture, mainly bringing back the avant-garde styles from Germany and other countries. As the 20th century progressed, other contemporary art styles like performance art began to dig in and make a place for itself in Serbian art. Marina Abramovic is one of the most famous performance artists from Serbia and has had her work showcased around the world.
Marina Abramovic
Serbian literature is primarily written in the Serbian language. Some of the earliest examples of literature were religious texts during the 15th century. Genres mostly included poetry, church service-related texts, hymns and hagiographies, as well as other prose styles. Old Church Slavonic was a prominent language of the church during this time.
The Bible written in Old Church Slavonic
The Battle of Kosovo during the 14th century opened up a new chapter for Serbian literature, especially for epic poetry. Such a battle as this was the prime subject material for a genre like this.  As the Medieval period became a thing of the past, the Baroque period brought along some new changes: the language started to merge into the Slavonic-Serbian language. By the mid-1800s, Romanticism became the preferred style, and through the efforts of Vuk Karadzic and Duro Danicic, the groundwork for the Serbian language began to solidify.
Ivo Andric
The 20th century brought along an array of authors who wrote under many different styles. Some of the more prominent writers include Ivo Andric (won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1961), Vladimir Arsenijevic (award-winning novelist, known for his work In the Hold), Milos Crnjanski (expressionist poet and diplomat), Miroslav Josic Visnjic (award-winning novelist and poet), Mesa Selimovic (Yugoslav author, known for his work Death and the Dervish), Miodrag Bulatovic (novelist and playwright), Danilo Kis (essayist, novelist, short story writer), Milorad Pavic (short story writer, novelist, poet, literary historian, known for his work Dictionary of the Khazars, one of the most prominent authors from Serbia), and Jelena Dimitrijevic (novelist, poet, feminist). And a bunch of others.

Up next: music and dance

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