Artworks in the Collection

Kraljević Marko and Miloš Obilić (sk etch) (1910)

The beginning of Nadežda’s stay in Paris was characterized by an interest in decorative historical compositions and by her intention to paint a series of seven monumental paintings from the Kraljević Marko cycle (and to frame them in frames on which “the events would unfold in metal-plastic art”), depicting scenes from the Kosovo cycle and from the novel Bad Blood by Bora Stanković. Today only Kraljević Marko and Miloš Obilić and two smaller paintings – Red Riders and the Maiden of Kosovo survive. Inspired by romantic patriotism and the omnipresent tendency towards expressing national identity, glorifying one’s national history and the idea of a decorativemonumental component expressed in the “Byzantine” style of these paintings, Nadežda embraced the current idea of Jugendstil, particularly present in the art of Gustav Klimt or in Maurice Denis’s wall paintings; “colossal in idea and brilliant in colour.” Today these paintings reveal the source of her inspiration in Serbian folk poetry and Meštrović’s preoccupation with the Kosovo cycle and the Vidovdan Temple. Just like the painting of Kraljević Marko and the Fairy, as seen in a photograph from a Paris studio, more precisely Meštrović’s studio at number 9 Impasse du Maine, this one too was stripped of its decorative dark contour. The the two-dimensional treatment of segments with intense colours set off against a simplified, stylized background of horizontal bands, indicates her familiarity with Gauguin’s painting and even the direct influence of his painting White Horse from 1898, as well as a closeness to the ideas of Matisse and Fauvism. Painted on the back of the cardboard with the Peasant Woman from Šumadija, this painting has existed as an independent piece since 2005, thanks to the efforts of restorers Zoran Pekić and Daniela Korolija-Crkvenjakov. Pavle Beljanski purchased this piece from Ljubica Luković in 1956.

Nadežda Petrović