National Museum in Belgrade

The most important and oldest museum in Serbia was founded in 1844.

By Museums of Serbia

Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia

National Museum in Belgrade (2021) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

It has changed many locations since then: from the Kapetan Miša edifice, Princess Ljubica’s Residence and the New Court Palace, to the present day building at Trg Republike (the Republic Square), to which it was moved in 1952. The building completed in 1903 for the Funds Administration, later Mortgage Bank, after the designs by Belgrade architects Nikola Nestorović and Andra Stevanović. At that time, it was one of the first bank buildings in Serbia, after the National Bank premises from 1889.

National Museum in Belgrade (2021) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

The monumental appearance of the main façade owes much to the symmetrical academic design, dominated by the entrance part with coupled columns, a luxurious neo–baroque dome, polychromatic façade walls with rich plastic decorations of neo–renaissance origins. The significance of the building was underlined not only by the outside artistry, but also by the ornaments of the interior, the work of well–known artists of the time: Andrea Domenico, Franja Valdman and Bora Kovačlević.

National Museum in Belgrade (2015) by Cultural Heritage Preservation Institute of BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

The first extension of the building was completed in 1930, with the addition of an atrium and a wing towards Laze Pačua Street. After the building was adapted to serve as premises of the Museum in 1952, the first subsequent major reconstructions were in 1964 and  1966, after the designs by architects Aleksandar Deroko, Petar Anagnosti and Zoran Petrović. Settled in the very center of Serbian capital, today preserves unique collection of the cultural heritage of Serbia, Central Balkans and Europe.

National Museum in Belgrade (2021) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

National Museum in Belgrade with its collection represents the development and civilization changes at the territory of modern Serbia and its nearest surroundings, from the pre-historic times to the late Middle Ages, as well as representative artworks of key  artistic styles and movements, supreme art accomplishments in the national and European art from the Middle Ages to the modern times.

National Museum in Belgrade (2021) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Among the highlits there are the Lepenski Vir culture remains (7th millennium B.C.), Vinca statues (6-5th millennium B.C.), Dupljaja Chariots (16-13th century B.C.), golden masks from Trebeniste (6th century B.C.), Belgrade Cameo (4th century), the Miroslav’s  Gospel (12th century), medieval icons and frescos, national 18th and 19th painting highlights, and representative selection of Jugoslav 20th century artworks (Šumanović, Nadežda Petrović, Meštrović). 

National Museum in Belgrade (2021) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Also within the museum collection are the European artworks dating from 14th century Italian masters (di Credi, Canaletto, Guardi), Neederlandish art (studios of Bosch, Brueghel, van Goyen and Rubens, and pieces done by Thorope, van Gogh and Mondrian). The  National Museum also keeps the French artworks from the end of the 19th and early 20th century (Corot, Daumier, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Gauguin), where the story about modern art ends with the works of Picasso, Kandinsky, Archipenko and Chagall.

National Museum in Belgrade (2021) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Archeology

Homo Heidelbergensis jawbone fragment from Mala Balanica cave (395–525 ka) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Homo Heidelbergensis jawbone fragment from Mala Balanica

The Homo heidelbergensis jawbone fragment from Mala Balanica in Sićevo (south Serbia) dates from this period. This fossil specimen is a robust fragmentary mandibular left corpus of a young adult individual, with all three molars present in their sockets. The specimen originates from layer 3b of Mala Balanica cave, dated to a minimum age of 392–525 ka (Middle Pleistocene). The specimen is characterized by primitive morphology – both mandibular and dental – with the complete lack of derived Neanderthal features.

Bone spatula–spoon

Spatula, e.g. the spoon made of animal bone, presents a part of archaeological collection from the major Early Neolithic site on the Danube left riverbank, in the plains of south Pannonia. Excavated in 1932, it was for a long time understood as an everyday’s tool for mixing the color pigments. But, the newest re-evaluation showed that this one, just like dozens of similar artefacts from Starčevo, presents one of the earliest utensils for feeding prehistoric babies, in the times of arising of the very first settlements of the Neolithic farmers in Europe.

Offers

A person sitting on a decorated "throne" with a bowl in his hands bearing gifts. The head is minimalist modeled, with the gaze directed away from the observer. The distinctly flat and elongated torso contrasts with the small breasts, while the arms are calmly lowered to the edges of the vessel. The bowl is the central theme of the composition, the contents of the vessel remain unknown. The sex of the figurine is not completely defined despite the prominent breasts. Is the person with the vessel a part of a dual deity that was also part of the beliefs of the community of Tisza culture, or a simplified face  that belonged to a former resident of Bordjoš?

The Dupljaja chariot

The Dupljaja chariot are a masterpiece of prehistoric art and are of great importance for the study of the social and religious life of Bronze Age inhabitants of the Danube region. The figurine, in a three-wheeled chariot drawn by the wild ducks known as mallard (lat. Anas platyrhynchos), represents a human-like deity dressed in a striking and richly decorated female attire. The clearly sculpted but hidden male genitals, along with wrist guards like those worn by warriors of that time, indicate the masculine features of this figure.

The Čurug Hoard (4th century BC) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

The Čurug Hoard

The motifs on the jewelry from the Čurug hoard – especially those on silver fibulae and open bracelet with each end bearing a backward folded snake head – are typical of Illyrian ornamental design. One detail, however, led to this significant hoard to be attributed differently: a bronze backward bent-foot fibula. Fibulae, as part of clothing, were important signs of ethnicity, thus the fibula in question pointed to the hoard being Celtic and dating back to the beginning of their settling in the Pannonian Plain.

Votive two wheeled carriage from Staničenje near Pirot

During protective archaeological excavations due to works on the Niš-Dimitrovgrad highway in 2013 at the locality of Staničenje near Pirot, within a tumulus with a diameter of 500 m, parts of Roman iron carts and the remains of a horse skeleton were found. It is a votive two-wheels carriage stored in a sepulchral mound during a specific ritual of burial with a carriage. Staničenje is located between two cities, Bela Palanka (Remesiana) and Pirot (Mansio Turres), east of ancient Naissus and close to the route of the roads that connected the provinces of Upper Moesia and Thrace.

Portrait of Constantine the Great (4th century (around 325)) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Portrait of Constantine the Great

The joint rule of four, the Tetrarchy, instituted by Diocletian, turned into a struggle for power and civil war in the first two decades of the 4th century, assuming the nature of a religious conflict as well. It was Constantine I, also known as the Great, who triumphed in 324. Constantine united the divided Empire and declared himself the sole ruler. By the end of his reign, Constantine’s vision became reality: once again powerful Roman Empire, upheld by a Christian God and founded upon the Christian faith.

Snake-shaped ring from the Kosmaj Tomb (second half of the 2nd ‒ beginning of the 3rd century) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Snake-shaped ring from the Kosmaj Tomb

A snake-shaped ring made of quality silver with a gold coating on the crest was found in tomb 1 at the Reka site in the area of ​​the Roman mining Kosmaj basin. Massive and striking, it is representative of fashion and taste in the 2nd and the first half of the 3rd century. The ring shank, i.e. the body of a snake of circular cross-section, is spirally twisted and gradually spreads from the tail towards the deltoid head.

Funerary stele of Lucius Albanius Septiminus

A limestone funerary stele, with the niche and an inscription field. Two dolphins are depicted in the upper corner fields. The niche with an arcade is chiselled between two columns with capitals. Below the arcade is a relief image of a shell with seven ribs. The scene of a funerary feast is depicted in the niche. On the bed with a head-rest there are three busts: a man (right) and two children (centre and right); to the left of the bed, on a chair with a tall back, is the seated figure of a woman.

The Belgrade Mummy (Ptolemaic period, around 300. BC) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

The Belgrade Mummy

While visiting Luxor in 1888, philanthropist and patron Hadži Pavle Riđički Skribešćanski, a nobleman from Mokrin, bought an Egyptian mummy in its original coffin and having brought it – according to his donation letter – out of patriotic intentions from faraway land […] not for  himself but for the Serbian people, gifted it to the National Museum in Belgrade that same year. This unusual and rare gift consist of an anthropoid two-part wooden coffin where the  mummy is placed with a foot pedestal which was once inscribed with hieroglyphics. Vertical hieroglyphics inscriptions on the lid, combined with a stele from the Egyptian Museum found in 1885 in Akhmin, identify the owner as a priest named Nesmin.

Roman military diploma from Moesia Superioe, National Museum in Belgrade, Roman Empire, 96, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Roman military diploma from Moesia Superioe, National Museum in Belgrade, Roman Empire, 96, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Roman military diploma from Moesia Superioe -  Roman military diplomas are generally rare finds, and the National Museum in Belgrade possesses several of them, including this discovered in Viminacium. The diploma contains the official transcription of an imperial decree, which was on display in a public place in Rome, according to which soldiers with 25 or more years of military service were granted the right of citizenship (civitas) and the right to legal marriage (conubium). Our diploma was issued at the time of Domitian and it is dated July 12th, 96. The veteran soldier, recipient of this privilege, was Dolens, son of Sublus, a Thracian by origin who, just before his discharge, served as an infantryman in the 6th Thracian cohort, stationed in Moesia Superior, together with one Roman ala and nine other cohorts.

National Museum in Belgrade (2021) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Middle Ages

Fibula from Velesnica (6th – 7th century) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Fibula from Velesnica

These fibulae were worn on the shoulder and used as clasps for cloaks. Clasps decorated with anthropomorphic masks, vegetal and geometric motifs, cast most often in bronze from single-piece moulds, were found in the vast area from the Crimea and the Russian steppes, across the Carpathian Basin, the central and lower Danube River Basin, to Greece. They were frequently used by the Slav population, as testifies by the findings from the settlements in Velesnica and Caričin Grad (Iustiniana Prima). On the right bank of the Danube, in Velesnica, the оldest traces of life attributed to the Slavs were recognized in rectangular wooden pit-houses with furnaces of stone and clay, and pottery workshops.

Pair of crescent-shaped earrings (second half of 9th to first half of 10th century) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Pair of crescent-shaped earrings

Luxurious pieces of jewelry merchants brought for wealthy noblewomen from Byzantine workshops, frpm the great centres on the coast of the Black Sea or from Greece. Gold lunular earrings, an item of high fashion of the time, were crafted by combining the traditional shape of the oriental lunula and the perfected techniques of filigree and granulation. They served as a model for many variations of this type of earring, made by local workshops in lands under the Empire's political and cultural influence.

Censers from Pepeljevac (end of the 7th beginning of the 8th century) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Censers from Pepeljevac

With the expansion and rise of Christianity, and owing to the good organisation of the Christian Church, liturgical objects were brought from far-flung workshops of the Christian East and West. A hanging bronze censer found in the church of Holy Sunday in Pepeljevac with relief scenes from the life of Christ: the Annunciation, the Encounter of the Mother of God and Elizabeth, the Nativity of Christ, the Annunciation to the Shepherds that Christ was born, Baptism and the Crucifixion is object of Roman heritage, which probably derives from an older church, and testifies to the Christianization of the newly settled inhabitants of the central Balkans - the Slavs.

The ring with Lazarević’s coat of arms (First half of the 15th century) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

The ring with Lazarević’s coat of arms

The period from the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century, the so-called Moravian Serbia signifies the development of Novi Brdo (Kosovo and Metohija), the largest and most important Serbian urban, trade and mining center. This fortified multiethnic city, a meeting place of scholars, businessmen and craftsmen, a city that had its own legal code, mint and twelve churches, entered the course of European history trading in the famous glam silver, known for a high percentage of gold, and addressing the approximately one-eighth of European silver production during the first half of the 15th century.

Two-sided icon: Virgin Hodegetria, National Museum in Belgrade, Third quarter of the 14th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Two-sided icon: Virgin Hodegetria, National Museum in Belgrade, Third quarter of the 14th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Two-sided icon: Virgin Hodegetria, Annunciation -  The face side of the icon displays a representation of the Mother of God with Christ on her left arm. It belongs to the iconographic type originating from the famous prototype - the Virgin Hodegetria - which points at the path of salvation in Christ. The Annunciation is painted on the back of the icon. This option, along with Hodegetria, emphasises the idea of ​​incarnation as the salvation basis, as well as the role of the Mother of God in it. The icon is distinguished by solemn, strict and balanced painting, beautiful characters illuminated with white accents and monumental figures. Based on the style, it dates to the third quarter of the 14th century and is attributed to the Thessaloniki workshop. Parts of the icon were copied in the 17th century.

Miroslav's Gospel, National Museum in Belgrade, Gligorije the Scribe, Eighties of the 12th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Miroslav's Gospel, National Museum in Belgrade, Gligorije the Scribe, Eighties of the 12th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Miroslav's Gospel -  The manuscript was commissioned by Prince Miroslav of Hum, the brother of the Grand Prince  Stefan Nemanja. It was probably intended for Miroslav's endowment, the episcopal church of St. Peter and Paul in Bijelo Polje on Lim. Composed in the Old Slavonic language, with a Serbian edition. It was written by Gligorija the Scribe. The Gospel is written on parchment and has a leather binding that is not original but originates from another manuscript from the 14th century. The book contains almost 300 miniatures drawn with a pen, followed by brush painting and decorated with gold. The book decoration system is based on Western and Byzantine traditions. The Byzantine way of composing a codex page is also present in Middle-Italian Romanesque manuscripts.

Platelets, National Museum in Belgrade, Second half of the 11th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Platelets, National Museum in Belgrade, Second half of the 11th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Platelets, National Museum in Belgrade, Second half of the 11th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Platelets, National Museum in Belgrade, Second half of the 11th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Platelets with St. John the Baptist, Archangels Michael and Gabriel and an ornamental platelet -  The platelets are made in the well-known technique of Byzantine cellular enamel on a gold background. While they were in Hilandar, they were in secondary use and they made a part of the 16 th -century connection of the Four Gospels of the Bulgarian Emperor George Terter from the 14 th  century. Style-wise, the enamel shows a balance between wholeness and detail. Vivid, bright colours create sound and harmonious proportions. Comparison with the works created in the capital indicates Constantinople as a possible place of their production. St. John the Baptist is presented as a prophet, while the archangels are dressed in aristocratic robes. The platelets do not provide information about the original iconographic and programmatic unit to which they belonged.

Epitrachil, National Museum in Belgrade, End of the 14th - beginning of the 15th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Epitrachil, National Museum in Belgrade, End of the 14th - beginning of the 15th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Epitrachil, National Museum in Belgrade, End of the 14th - beginning of the 15th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Epitrachil, National Museum in Belgrade, End of the 14th - beginning of the 15th century, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Epitrachil -  A grave discovered in the deambulatorium of the church – commonly known as Peter’s Church – yielded human remains clothed in the full vestments of a metropolitan, unusual because the fabric’s place and date of origin vary (the earliest pieces were created in the late 14th century – and bear visible signs of wear – while others were made in the second half of the 18th century). Among the oldest liturgical vestments one which especially stands out is an epitrachelion with gold embroidery. The stole was created by three different masters and features the Deisis along with ornamental patterns at each end. The Deisis depicts the Mother of God and St. John the Baptist praying on behalf of mankind before Jesus Christ, along with liturgists St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Nicholas.

Deisis with St. Sava, St. Simeon Nemanja and Serbian saints (1676) by National Museum in Belgrade and painter RadulMuseums of Serbia

Deisis with St. Sava, St. Simeon Nemanja and Serbian saints

The icon is painted in two zones. Deisis with St. Sava Srpski and St. Simeon Nemanja are presented on the icon, holding a scroll with Psalm 34 (... Come, my children, and listen to me ...). In the lower zone, there are other Serbian saints headed by the patron saint, St. Stephen the First Martyr, and then the kings: St. Stefan The First-Crowned, Stefan King of Dečani, Tsar Uroš and Prince Lazar. The colour of the icon is unusually finely matched to the gold and green base tones.

Apostle Andrew (19th century) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Apostle Andrew

The icon, slightly damaged in the bottom right corner, is framed by two wide stripes in red and gold. In front of the dark sky illuminated on the horizon, the figure of the Apostle Andrew, with long grey hair and a beard, is presented up to the line below the waist on the darkened ground. He holds an upright bent scroll on his right palm; his left palm in front of his chest is prayerfully turned. The Apostle is dressed in a robe and a cloak with effective folds made of gold and silver.

The Birth of Christ (XV century) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

The Birth of Christ

The scene of Christ's birth is here presented in a hilly landscape on a golden background. From the segment in the sky, at the top of the icon, a ray emerges that dominates the upper part of the composition. The Mother of God is presented in the central part with her arms crossed on the chest, kneeling in front of the entrance to the cave where you can see the newborn Christ in the cradle with a donkey and an ox leaning over. The lower part presents the Annunciation to the shepherds and St. Joseph sitting and waiting to worship the divine fruit of the virgin womb (Lk 2:14).

Rosette (1400) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Rosette

In the arrangement of Serbian churches of the late Middle Ages, rosettes, as independent units, had a special place in the wall decoration of buildings of the so-called Morava art school. It was created in a combination of Byzantine and Western elements where original forms and ways of execution were created, thus forming new entities in a special relationship between architecture and sculpture. They are distinguished by the fullness of form, colourful variety and specific dense and complex ornamentation where  various types of geometric interweaving and stylised plant motifs in rhythmic shifts, representations of animals and rarely human figures play the main role.

Seal of the Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja (1166/1199) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Numismatics

10 paras, Mihailo Obrenović III (1868) by National Museum in Belgrade and Anton ScharfMuseums of Serbia

10 paras 1868, Mihailo Obrenović III (1860-1868)

The renewal of the national currency in Serbia in the nineteenth century is inseparable from the renewal of its statehood. The era of uprisings, wars and mutinies, which achieved the long-desired national liberation, was crowned with the recognition of an independent state at the Berlin Congress in 1878. Simultaneously with the political liberation from Turkish dependence, the first steps were taken towards establishing own monetary system. The importance of the national coin as a symbol of statehood was acknowledged by Prince Mihailo Obrenović (1860-1868), and the decision to mint the first coin in renewed Serbia was made during his second reign.

2 dinars, Milan Obrenović IV (1875) by National Museum in Belgrade and Anton ScharfMuseums of Serbia

2 dinars 1875, Milan Obrenović IV (1868-1884)

An important decision for the establishment of the monetary system of Serbia followed in 1873 during the reign of the Prince, and then King Milan Obrenović (1868-1889) with the enactment of the "Law on the minting of the Serbian silver coin". The first silver coin was minted in 1875, when the national monetary unit, the dinar, was introduced following the example of Serbian medieval money. The very name 'dinar', which has remained as the monetary unit of the modern monetary system of Serbia, has a long history dating back to ancient Rome.

20 dinars, Milan Obrenović IV (1879) by National Museum in Belgrade and Ernst Paulini TassetMuseums of Serbia

20 dinars 1879, Milan Obrenović IV (1868-1884)

Following the recognition of full independence at the Berlin Congress in 1878, with the issuance of the first gold denomination of 20 dinars in 1879, Serbia fully fit into the Latin Monetary Union standards, and its money could be exchanged at equal parity for the currencies of the European monetary community. The significance of the first gold denomination minting was also evidenced by the fact that the National Assembly decided on its name by adopting the wording "Milan's gold coin".

Medal The fiftieth anniversary of the Second Serbian Uprising (1865) by National Museum in Belgrade and Vincenz Katzler and Anastas JovanovićMuseums of Serbia

Medal The fiftieth anniversary of the II Serbian Uprising

Marking of the Second Serbian Uprising fiftieth anniversary and the initiative to establish new decorations gave the reason for the engagement of artists in the development of their conceptual designs. Several artists worked on the sketches of a commemorative medal. Vincenzo Katzler's drafts were accepted, and Anastas Jovanović produced the final version based on the draft in the Vienna Mint by Wilhelm Pittner. The artistic design of this medal, in the form of a double portrait, was a novelty in the  medal making of Serbia. 

Seal of the Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja, National Museum in Belgrade, 1166/1199, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Seal of the Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja, National Museum in Belgrade, 1166/1199, From the collection of: Museums of Serbia
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Seal of the Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja -  One of the rare personal items that can be directly related to Stefan Nemanja is the seal with his name. It is made of lead, in the shape of a circular plate with an opening through the middle, pierced for the ribbon with which the seal was tied to the charter. It belongs to the second half of the 12th century, the time when Stefan Nemanja held the title of Grand Prince. Such lead seals ('bule') were made and were in great use in Byzantium and Eastern Europe during the 11th and 12th centuries. The seal of Stefan Nemanja provides evidence of the Serbian state ruling office extensive activity in the twelfth century which - by issuing various acts: legal, political, economic and private - maintained a developed diplomatic practice, initially relying on Byzantine models. Soon, however, through the development of correspondence and ties with the West, it spread onto the forms from these parts of Europe.

Coronation dinar of Stefan Dušan (1331/1355) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Coronation dinar of Stefan Dušan

At the time when the Serbian Empire was the most dominant power in the Balkans, while the state with a robust central government reached the highest point of its structure and organisation, the coinage of Stefan Dušan, harmonised with the imperial conquests,  economic rise and state monetisation, resulted in extensive monetary production. It acquired its representative expression in the "coronation dinar", the first imperial issuance that was created on the occasion of Dušan's coronation in Skopje in 1346.

Dinar of the despot Đurađ Branković (1402/1456) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

Dinar of the despot Đurađ Branković (1402-1456)

The monetary reform that marked the coinage of the Despot Đurađ Branković after 1435 with a new minting organisation, highlighted the changed, secular iconography on the money of enviable artistic processing and the quality of minting. In addition to the issuance of coins without mint marks, their marking commenced during the reform period. A number of these issues referred to as monete nove, relate to the mint that operated on Novo Brdo in the proximity of the most important medieval silver mine in the central Balkans.

Coins of the Scordiscs (3rd century BC) by National Museum in Belgrade and Scordiscs, Celtic tribeMuseums of Serbia

Coins of the Scordiscs

The Scordiscs (Celtic community that inhabited the areas around the Sava, Danube and Great Morava rivers) learned about money in their contacts with the Hellenic world and then began minting it themselves. They most often used the silver tetradrachma of Philip of Macedonia as a model, with the representation of Zeus on the obverse and a horseman on the reverse and, as time passed, their inclination towards stylisation became increasingly apparent. The so-called Serbian group encompasses a series of autonomous and typologically diverse specimens with schematised representations, minted in excellent silver. Local minting in the true sense of the word began in the central Balkan region with this coinage.

Bronze ceremonial medallion of Roman emperor Gordian III (242/243) by National Museum in Belgrade and Roman EmpireMuseums of Serbia

Bronze ceremonial medallion of Roman emperor Gordian III

The medallion of the Roman emperor Gordian III (238-244), of ceremonial character and historical content, belongs to the world cultural heritage because of its characteristics. Finds of bimetallic medallions are very rare and only several specimens with the same typology are known – with the one in Belgrade being in the best state of preservation. The reason for issuing the medallion was the campaign against the Sassanids in 242-243, when Gordian scored a great victory against Shapur’s army.

Dupondius of Phillipus I (244) by National Museum in Belgrade and Roman EmpireMuseums of Serbia

Dupondius of Phillipus I (244-249)

The colonial mint in Viminacium (present day Kostolac near Požarevac), was opened during the reign of Gordianus III, in 239 AD. With interruptions in minting in 248/9 AD and 253/254 AD, it lasted until Gallienus in 254/255 AD. It supplied small coins that were required to the Roman provinces in the Danubian region, primarly Moesia Superior, thе capital of wich was Viminacium. Depicted on the obverse of these coins is the image of the ruler or member of the imperial family, while scenes of a military character are on the reverse.

The gold medallion of Roman emperor Valentinian I (364) by National Museum in Belgrade and Roman EmpireMuseums of Serbia

The gold medallion of Roman emperor Valentinian I (364-375)

The gold medallion of Emperor Valentinian I (364-375) belongs to the ceremonial issues that were minted for imperial anniversaries. They represented a personal gift from the emperor to high-ranking dignitaries and commanders, indicating the emperor' s recognition for outstandig merit. It originates from the mint in Constantinople and was discovered in the village of Zatonje, near Veliko Gradište, Pincum in ancient times, on the bank of the Danube, in 1965.

National Museum in Belgrade (2021) by National Museum in BelgradeMuseums of Serbia

History of art

Herzegovinian Refugees (1889) by National Museum in Belgrade and Uroš PredićMuseums of Serbia

Herzegovinian Refugees

The historical composition Herzegovinian Refugees (or Bosnian Refugees) represents one of the most significant achievements in Serbian art of the 19th century. It was inspired by the events from the Serbian-Turkish war and the uprising in Nevesinje (1875-1876). Predić's relatives served as models for this composition. The crying girl next to the old man on the left is Mica Predić, the later wife of the composer Stevan Mokranjac; the man with the head bent on the right is the author's brother Radivoj; the girl in the foreground, held by the hand by her mother is his nephew Zorka Predić, while the colourful character of the broad-shouldered highlander with a red turban in the middle of the painting is particularly interesting.

Self-Portrait (1907) by National Museum in Belgrade and Nadežda PetrovićMuseums of Serbia

Self-Portrait

Recognised first as a top-class landscape painter, she also created a series of exceptionally valuable portraits. However, in Nadežda's oeuvre, the only painted self-portrait survived, completed in the time of her second, the so-called Serbian period. It was created in 1907, almost by accident, spontaneously and unpretentiously, as a sign of a friendly relationship with the painter Ivan Grohar, who made the painter's portrait in pastel the same year.

The Shepherdess (1924) by National Museum in Belgrade and Sava ŠumanovićMuseums of Serbia

The Shepherdess

The Shepherdess was created in the period between Šumanović's two sojourns in Paris, as a blend of earlier post-Cubist ideas and experiences adopted during his first stay in Paris and a new, prevailing, neoclassical spirit. On the one hand, the monumental female figure in the foreground - in the exalted landscape ambience, as if carved out from geometrised forms, rationally desaturated in colour, in a balance of plastic and decorative values of the painting - is performed in the tradition of synthetic stylisation of Cezanne and post-Cubism of Lhote and Picasso.

Mother of God the Life-Giving Spring (1745) by National Museum in Belgrade and Hristofor ŽefarovićMuseums of Serbia

Mother of God the Life-Giving Spring

A fountain dominates in the central part of the graphic. Above the fountain, up in the clouds and surrounded by angels, Virgin Mary with Christ is represented with two angels placing the crown on her head. Numerous sick gathered together around the fountain, both kings and beggars. The foreground features the disabled, being brought healing water, while behind the fountain, in a sweeping panorama, stretch the walls of Constantinople. Inscription in Greek is placed below the composition, which reads: You who are the living source of grace, feed all who rush to you.

Three in the Landscape (1917) by National Museum in Belgrade and Ivan RadovićMuseums of Serbia

Ivan Radović, Three in the Landscape, 1917

Two standing naked female figures in a landscape, with their arms outstretched towards each other, form an arch above the man sitting between them, shown up to the knee. The drawing was created during Radović's education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest and its development on the foundations of the artistic aesthetics of Paris, as the most important centre of European modernism. It reflects the artist's aspiration to establish the relationship between figures and landscapes, as a hint of constructivist structure and liberation from academic frameworks.

Portrait of Branko Ve Poljanski (1921/1922) by National Museum in Belgrade and Jovan BijelićMuseums of Serbia

Portrait of Branko Ve Poljanski

The portrait of Branko Ve Poljanski, one of the ideologues and representatives of the avant-garde Serbian art movement Zenitism, was created at a time when Bijelić was inspired by the ideas of constructivism and the Russian avant-garde. It represents one of his most significant drawings from the avant-garde period - a collaboration with Ljubomir Micić and the Zenit magazine. It is created in the spirit of geometric stylisation, with elements of expressed graphism and expressiveness in  appearance. 

Landscape at Berneval, in the Afternoon (1900) by National Museum in Belgrade and Camille PissarroMuseums of Serbia

Landscape at Berneval, in the Afternoon

The painting represents one of the seven landscapes that Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) painted during his stay in Berneval, a small town near Dieppe, during the summer of 1900. The work was created in the last decade of the artist's life, which he spent in intensive work and frequent travels. "Landscape in Berneval" belongs to the type of Pissarro's rural landscapes where vegetation and sky occupy the focus of the painter's interest.

Purple Beeches (1901) by National Museum in Belgrade and Henri MatisseMuseums of Serbia

Purple Beeches

The artwork of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) "Purple Beeches" was created as an expression of the belief that the painting should be a reflection of the artist's subjective experience and not an imitation of reality. Thus, perspective and volume are neglected in favour of flat-painted surfaces through which the artist expresses his feelings, while the colour, used rather spontaneously, ceases to have a descriptive function.

Writer at his Table (1882/1883) by National Museum in Belgrade and Vincent Van GoghMuseums of Serbia

Writer at his Table

For Van Gogh, the drawing designated the final and completed work. In The Hague, where he lived from 1881 to 1883, he drew scenes from the city surroundings, fields, and public places. He considered it exceptionally important that in presenting everyday, ordinary people and situations, one should not strive for anecdotal but higher, universal values. During this period, Van Gogh, to better process the form and achieve a wide range of dark effects, mostly worked with different softness pencils.

In addition to pencils, he also used ink. In the drawing "Writer at his table", most of the composition, especially the background, is elaborated in sepia ink. Wide, short strokes are achieved by using a blunt, thicker or second-hand metal pen. Van Gogh did not like thin, expensive feathers, which reminded him of the civic wealth that disgusted him.

Women Leaving her Bath (1890) by National Museum in Belgrade and Edgar DegasMuseums of Serbia

Women Leaving her Bath

The artworks from the thematic cycle Woman at Her Toilette, Degas displayed publicly for the first time in 1886, at the last, 8th exhibition of the Impressionists in a series of ten pastels under the common title A series of nude women bathing, washing, wiping themselves, combing or being combed by someone else. They reflect Degas' new approach in the classically understood processing of the female body that would continue over the next decade. These nudes in the interior were not created as a copy by nature, but represent the sum of what the artist observed. 

Credits: Story

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia
Cultural Heritage Preservation Institute of Belgrade
National Museum in Belgrade
The narration was provided by: Petar Petrović - museum advisor, Jasmina Novaković - curator, Gordana Stanišić - museum advisor, Evgenija Blanusa - museum advisor, Vera Grujić - museum advisor, Jelena Dergenc - museum advisor, dr Dragana Kovačić - museum advisor, Bojana Mihailović, museum advisor, Andrej Starović - senior curator, Dr. Vera Bogosavljević-Petrović - museum advisor, Jovan D. Mitrović - senior curator, Aca Đorđević - museum advisor, Vera Krstić - museum advisor, Deana Ratković, MA - museum advisor, prof. Tatjana Cvjetićanin, PhD - museum advisor, Mirjana Glumac, PhD - museum advisor, Veselinka Ninković, MA - museum advisor, Natasa Cerovic - senior curator, Dr. Emina Zecevic - museum advisor, Aleksandra Nitic - senior curator, MSc Branka Ivanic - museum advisor, Dr. Bojan Popovic - senior curator and Lidija Ham - senior curator.

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