Artists in the Collection

Nebojša Mitrić
(Belgrade, 7 July 1931 – Belgrade, 23 August 1989)

Legends, history and tradition are intertwined with the earliest creative attempts of Nebojša Mitrić, sculptor, long before he entered the Belgrade art scene as a student of the first generation at the newly founded Academy of Applied Arts, under Professor Ivan Tabaković. As much as he studied art at the academy, he did equally so on the examples of
Studenica, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Zadar, the permanent exhibitions of the National Museum, the Louvre in Paris, and after he graduated (1952) he continued his education on many trips around Europe, the USA, visiting medieval monuments in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Dalmatia. His visits when he was still student to the Studenica Monastery helped
him develop his future choice of themes related to the fragments from the lives of medieval Serbian rulers, especially Stefan Nemanja, Emperor Dušan and Prince Lazar. The result of this were medals, various sculptures, portraits and reliefs which are imbued with motifs from the Serbo-Byzantine tradition, his national tradition, historical characters and
customs starting from Emperor Dušan, to Prince Lazar, Despot Stefan Lazarević, to Filip Višnjić and Vuk Karadžić, then Petar II Petrović Njegoš, Janko Veselinović, Jovan Jovanović Zmaj, Bora Stanković, Nikola Tesla, Milena Pavlović Barili and Branko Miljković. The figures of medieval Serbian rulers dominate the series of “warriors,” “hunts,” towering
complexes of monuments for public areas (like the monuments to Prince Lazar and Despot Stefan). Mitrić depicted these personalities in his own plastic tonality with accentuated stylization of ancient sculptural and medieval Byzantine painted motifs, as well as numismatic and heraldic artefacts, whose visual code he transformed according to the spirit of the current sculptural ideas. He also used a similar technique of synthetic stylization in his portraits, from the basic character traits to typological generalizations in which the entire notion, set of characteristics associated with a certain personality, can be identified. The determination of Nebojša Mitrić to draw inspiration from the sizeable corpusof his national tradition made Pavle Beljanski decide in 1960, rather late compared to the other artists, to include two of Mitrić’s hunt-reliefs into his collection.