A Nemanjić

Milica Zorić1958

The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection

The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection

Three-fingered people, with vertically set eyes on expressionless faces and identical facial features are an omnipresent theme, motif and idea behind the tapestries of Milica Zorić. They are the dominant actors whose parts suggest recognizable actions or attributes, usually with a symbolic meaning. The extravagant robes, and even more so the benefactor-like dignified grace of the exalted pose, make it clear that the figure is that of a high dignitary, but only the title and the words of the author herself identify it as a ruler from the Nemanjić dynasty – perhaps Stefan the First-Crowned or Saint Sava, although it is most probably a symbol of the entire dynasty. Instead of a scepter, he holds in his hand a snake, which symbolizes wisdom in folklore, and he is standing on a lizard (the lizard motif first appeared in this tapestry), the mythical original inhabitant of Earth – thus standing on Earth as the Universe. She obviously drew her inspiration from the Slavic-Byzantine understanding of the world and man, and used Serbian medieval paintings as a model, whereby Milica Zorić placed personal issues on a par with national issues. She found a good justification for a typically static composition in the hieratic austerity of the depicted figure, whose motionless posture, it seems, is chiefly imposed by the inspiration she drew from the material, that is to say the limiting configuration of the exceptionally richly structured fragments of folk embroidery. Frequently criticized by art theoreticians, her colleagues tapestry artists, and most of all by historians and ethnologists for the destruction of part of the national heritage, Milica Zorić managed to avoid the constant danger of attractive details, in her case somebody else’s handiwork, prevailing over the tapestry as a conceptual, semantic and plastic whole.

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  • Title: A Nemanjić
  • Creator: Milica Zorić
  • Date Created: 1958
  • Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings: signed in the top left corner: M. Zorić
  • Provenance: Pavle Beljanski included this artwork into his collection in 1962 replacing another artwork by Jovan Bijelić.
  • Physical Dimensions: w138 x h219 cm
  • Exhibition History: 1960/1961 - Tapisseries Yugoslaves, Musée d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris; since 1962 - the permanent exhibition of The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection, Novi Sad; 2011 - the exhibition The Collection of Pavle Beljanski: Back in Belgrade, Gallery of the Military Club, Belgrade
  • Type: Tapestry
  • Rights: The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection, The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection
  • External Link: http://www.pavle-beljanski.museum/en/artwork.php?artwork=182
  • Medium: embroidery and original folk embroidery applications on woven background


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