Artworks in the Collection

The Gusle Player (1956)

“I have always been impressed by the monumentality of our historical personalities, our great historic events. That is what I am trying to say in a sculpting manner, in the best way I can,” said Sreten Stojanović in an interview in 1957. Judging by the sketches and notes, the idea of a cycle of gigantic figures of famous personalities from his national history was born somewhere in the middle of the 1930s, but was only realized after 1951, in his period of epic monumentality, as Lazar Trifunović called it. The monumental sculpture of Njegoš was placed in Titograd in 1952 (and its replica in Belgrade on the plateau in front of the Faculty of Philosophy), while that of Karađorđe was finished in 1955. The figure of Filip Višnjić was conceived in the form of a blind wandering bard, but only the head was cast in bronze. When the model of this sculpture was almost finished, the inner structure was unable to withstand the weight of several tons of clay and mud. Only the head of the figure was preserved, which, although damaged, was immediately cast by Stojanović’s students. The bronze sketch of Filip Višnjić displays a developed motion which is transferred from one form to another, the strong, determined figure of the folk hero, a bard whose weapon was not a flintlock, but the gusle. Finding his expression in the architecture and position of the masses, and not in the character, as he had done before, Stojanović reduced his means of expression by narrowing them down to tectonics, stylization and ornaments. In this period, the artist returned to his beginnings as an sculptor, which proved that he had not only received Bourdelle’s influence in the beginning, but that he remembered his old teacher at the end of his own artistic career and life.

Sreten Stojanović