Home> CULTURE > Five Treasures in the Serbian National Museum

Five Treasures in the Serbian National Museum

  • Source:www.balkaninsight.com
  • Date:2018-04-12 11:10
 
Portrait of Constantine the Great. Photo: Courtesy of the National Museum in Belgrade.

After a 15-year reconstruction, the re-opening ceremony of the National Museum is symbolically set for June 28

th, St Vitus’ day, or Vidovdan, which is both a folk holiday as well as the anniversary of two important events in Serbian history– the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which started World War I.

Given the long time that many of the museum’s treasures were unavailable to visitors, here are five artefacts that we are especially keen to see again.

“Foremother” sculpture

This elaborate, fish-like sculpture of a deity dates from the Mesolithic period and is about 9,000 years old. Photo: Courtesy of the National Museum in Belgrade

This elaborate, fish-like sculpture of a deity dates from the Mesolithic period and is about 9,000 years old. It comes from Lepenski Vir, a stone-age settlement located at the Iron Gates of the Danube, and discovered in the 1960s. The discovery caused a stir in the archaeological circles at the time as Lepenians, as its inhabitants are called, appear to have been very sophisticated for their time, as they lived in orderly trapezoidal homes and carved elaborate sculptures of their river gods.

Portrait of Constantine the Great

Portrait of Constantine the Great.Photo: Courtesy of the National Museum in Belgrade.

Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor who made Christianity the state religion of the Empire, may well be the most famous person in history ever born within the boundaries of what is now Serbia. A particularly beautifully sculpted bronze portrait of him was found in Naissus, his birthplace, an ancient Roman city which stood in the area of the present city of Nis. It is believed that the head was part of monumental gilded statue and that it dates from the first half of 4th century AD.

Miroslav’s Gospel

Superbly illuminated by skilled monks for the church of St Peter near Bijelo Polje, in present-day Montenegro, this 12

th-Century Gospel was commissioned by Miroslav of Hum, a nobleman and brother of Stefan Nemanja, founder of the longest-ruling Serbian Medieval dynasty. It is one of the most important proofs of the literacy and use of the Cyrillic manuscript among the ancient Slavs. The blend of western Romanesque and eastern Byzantine styles make the illuminations particularly appealing; one of them is used as the logo of the National Museum. The manuscript was inscribed into UNESCO’s Memory of the World register in 2005.

Theodora’s ring

This wonderful piece of medieval jewellery was unearthed in 1915 during the Serbian Army’s retreat from Austro-Hungarian forces in World War I. Photo: Courtesy of the National Museum in Belgrade.

Queen Theodora was the daughter of a Bulgarian emperor and mother of the most powerful Medieval Serbian ruler, Tsar Dusan Silni [the Mighty]. She had a particularly dramatic life as she was exiled to Constantinople with her husband, Stefan of Decani, and then had to support him during his struggle to win the crown of Serbia. He was eventually victorious; however, Theodora’s reign in Serbia lasted only for a few months, as she died in 1322 and was buried in Banjska monastery in present-day Kosovo. She was interred with her intricately decorated signet ring, which blends western Gothic and Byzantine influences. This wonderful piece of medieval jewellery was unearthed in 1915 during the Serbian Army’s retreat from Austro-Hungarian forces in World War I, and is also significant because it proved that the two-headed eagle was the coat of arms of the Nemanjic family.

Mestrovic collection

Ivan Mestrovic, who grew up Otavice and Split in Dalmatia, Croatia, was undoubtedly the most accomplished sculptor of the 20

thCentury from the ex-Yugoslav region. Distinguished by his symbolic, monumental style, and fierce devotion to unity of South Slavic peoples, he designed a series of monumental sculptures that drew inspiration from the Serbian legends about the Battle of Kosovo. He exhibited them to acclaim in the Serbian pavilion during the 1911 International Exhibition in Rome and then, in 1915, in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where his sculpture of the torso of Strahinjic Ban still stands. His dramatic caryatids grace the entrance to the National Museum from Vasina Street, while his other works, immediately recognizable for their elongated muscularity, are scattered around the museum.

This article was published in BIRN's bi-weekly newspaper Belgrade Insight.Here is where to find a copy.

  • Source:www.balkaninsight.com
  • Date:2018-04-12 11:10
Key Words:Museum,Serbian,National,Belgrade,World
 
Recommended For You
 
Related News