Wednesday, June 2, 2010

(Social) Realism: Serbia

Pavle "Paja" Jovanović (1859–1957)

Pavle "Paja" Jovanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Павле "Паја" Јовановић) (1859–1957) was the most prominent Serbian Realist painter alongside Uroš Predić. He is considered one of Serbia's greatest academic painters. His most famous and recognizable paintings include Serbian Migrations, Crowning of Stefan Dušan, Takovo Uprising, Cockfighting, Decorating of the Bride, and Fencing. He also painted many famous portraits. His works can be found in many European museums across the continent.

He finished the Academy of Fine Arts in 1880, attending several important courses taught by Leopold Carl Miller, known as an “orientalist”. In the following period, having noticed greater interest of Europe for the Balkans, he painted mostly scenes from the life of the Albanians, Montenegrins, Herzegovinians, which brought him great reputation. Encouraged to visit the Balkan region during his hiatus, he studied the customs and folklore of the people, and in 1882 he was awarded the prize of the Academy and was given the czar scholarship for the composition The Wounded Montenegrin.

The public and many art critics directed their attention to the young painter, and in 1883 he signed a contract with the London gallery simply named “French”. He continued his travelling through Caucasus, Morocco, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Italy, and Spain. A great number of sketches, notes, and studies, along with the collected objects from the life of the common people, will find their place in his famous genre-compositions, such as: Fencing, Decorating of the Bride, and Cockfighting.

Djordje Andrejević-Kun (1904 - 1964)
Djordje Andrejević-Kun (1904, Breslau, Germany - 1964, Belgrade, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia) was a Serbian painter of great renown. He was the designer of the Coat of Arms of the City of Belgrade and reputedly designed the Coat of arms of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Yugoslav orders and medals (along with Antun Augustinčić). He is frequently cited as one of known Yugoslav painters, and a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He fought with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War during which time his woodcut set For Freedom (Za sloboda) was published in 1939. The next year he published his collection Sketches, Drawing, And Studies (Skice, crtezi, studije) in Spain. From 1941 to 1945, he was a member of the "Yugoslav National Liberation" forces.

In 1946, his drawings Partisans (Partizani) were awarded the Yugoslav Federation Prize for Graphics, and in 1949, his oil work Witnesses of Horror (Svedoci užasa), the Yugoslav Federation Prize for Painting. In 1951-1953 he belonged to the Independents (Samostalni). In 1945, he joined the faculty, as full-professor, of the "Academy of Fine Arts" in Belgrade, and, from 1959-1963, he was Dean of the Department of Fine Arts of the University of Belgrade, after the Academy had been incorporated into the University.

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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