National Museum of Serbia

National Museum of Serbia

National Museum of Serbia
Established May 10, 1844
Location Belgrade, Serbia
Type Art museum, Design/Textile Museum, Historic site
Collection size More than 400.000 objects[1]
Director Bojana Borić Brešković

The National Museum of Serbia (Serbian: Народни музеј Србије, Narodni Muzej Srbije) is the largest and oldest museum in Serbia and former Yugoslavia. It is located in the central zone of Belgrade on a square area between the Republic Square, former Theatre Square, and three streets Čika Ljubina, Vasina and Laze Pačua. Its main facade is on the Republic Square. The museum was established on May 10, 1844. Since it was founded, its collection has grown to over 400,000 objects, including many foreign masterpieces. Currently, the museum is closed for renovation.[2]

The National Museum of Serbia building was declared a Monument of Culture of Great Importance in 1979.[3]


Before erection of the building of the National Museum on this place was famous tavern called "Dardanelles", meeting point of cultural and artistic elite of the time. Demolition of the old tavern signified the beginning of the transformation of The Republic Square. The building which housed the most important museum of Republic of Serbia today, originally was built from 1902 to 1903, for the purpose of Fund Mortgage Bank, one of the oldest banking institution of Belgrade. Building has constructed according to design of architects Andra Stevanović and Nikola Nestorović after a competition on which they received the first prize. It was one of the first building in which was used some form of reinforced concrete for the foundation. Actually during the digging foundation trenches, the various pits, wells and basements were encountred because of the proximity of the former Istanbul Gate. Newly built two-storeyed building was a real palace of its time. Its volume conception designed in the form of a long solid block with domes over the central and lateral rizalites and academic façade shape were based on the principles of neo-Renaissance style with neo-baroque elements on the domes. The greatest attention was given to the monumental staircase and the hall with bank windows which as the basic premises of a bank was given a secondary importance. Almost three decades later, an increased development of Mortgage Bank, influenced a need for a reconstruction of the building. The extension was made without competition by architect Vojin Petrović, who designed the added wing and atrium facing the street Laze Paču.The new part of the building contained the same elements of interior as the old part, and in the final image the building got two monumental staircases and two halls with bank windows while only the upper floors form the continuous line of offices. During World War II Mortgage Bank building was bombed and the central part with the dome was destroyed. After the war, the building got a completely new purpose when one of the most important national cultural institution moved in.

Since its establishing during the Constitutionalist, until the end of the Second World War the National Museum changed location for several times. At a beginning, it was placed in Captain Miša’s building (1863) and soon after it was moved into two adjacent buildings which were destroyed during World War I. At the same time the museum art collections were seized and looted by the invaders. During the interwar period the Museum didn’t get its own building. The museum was located in a rented private house in Knez Milos Street 58. In 1935 the New Royal Palacе became the residence of the museum and named the Royal Museum. Subsequently it was renamed into the Museum of Prince Paul which consisted of Historical Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 1948 the New Palace was restored and became administrative seat of the Republic. For that purpose the Museum was transferred into a building of the former Stock Exchange on the Student Square, and partly to Palace of Princess Ljubica.

The first architectural competition for the proper National Museum building, planned to be on Tašmajdan was announced the following year.

The author of the design was an architect Miladin Prljevic but the Cominiform disapproved this idea. Then the museum was transferred into the building of Mortgage Bank. After the World War II, the first renovation of bank building was done by architect Dobroslav Pavlovic in 1950 but the overall reconstruction of the building was made 1965-1966 by architects Alexander Deroko, Petar Anagnosti and Zoran Petrović. The central dome was restored and the central tract with offices and workspaces was lifted. After an adaptation the original hall with bank windows was converted into a library. The originally main and monumental three-way staircase entrance from the Republic Square received an internal character while the other entrance from Vasina street became the main entrance to the Museum, which is connected directly to the other hall with bank windows was. In a functional arrangement, the building underwent upgrading doubling space and communications, while in terms of design, maintained the characteristic elements of 1902 and in terms of art as an integral unity. Interior renovation from the sixties of the 20th century was done in such manner that it is not visible from the outside and it doesn’t disturb the communications inside the museum.

Museum today

The National Museum of Serbia is a representative public building, monumental in size and volume, as well as its external shape and style. That is especially visible in the entrance area with twin columns and magnificent dome. All the facades characterized with polychrome ornaments neo-Renaissance origin. Monumentality is also reflected in the interior with rich decoration done by famous artists of the time: Andrea Domenico (also known as a painter of decorative wall painting that is in the interior of the building of the Old Palace), Franz Valdman and Bora Kovacevic.

Because of its architectural and cultural, urban and historical value building of the National Museum of Serbia is established for the cultural heritage monument of great importance for the Republic of Serbia.


The Museum has 34 archeological, numismatic, artistic and historical collections today.

Archeological collections

The main collection consists of sculptures from Vinca (6th–5th millennium BC) such as Lady of Vinča and Lepenski Vir (7th millennium BC). There are also numerous sculptures, weapons, helmets and other items from ancient Rome, 1005 items from ancient Greece and various items of Celtic origin. The most valuable pieces from that period are Dupljaja Chariot (16th-13th century BC), golden masks from Trebenište (6th century BC), household sets from Jabučje (1st century AD), the Belgrade Cameo (4th century) and a Silver belt with swastika (5th century BC). There is also a collection from ancient Egypt. The most famous piece is a rare gold sarcophagus and mummy of the Egyptian priest Nesmin.


The Numismatic Collection has more than 300,000 items (coins, medals, rings, seals). The collection is divided into ten smaller assemblies from 6th–5th century BC, and includes a collection of coins issued by Philip II of Macedonian (359–336 BC) and Alexander the Great (336–323 BC). The collection also contains unique items: a golden medallion of Emperor Valentinian I, minted 364 AD, silver Dinars from the reign of King Stefan Radoslav of Serbia, and others.

Medieval collection

The museum also holds a large collection of medieval artifacts, mostly from Europe and Asia. The most important is the illustrated 362 page manuscript of the Miroslav Gospels written in 1186 in Kingdom of Serbia (medieval). The manuscript was entered into UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in recognition of its historical value.[4] The collection also includes the sarcophagus of Saint King Stefan Decanski from the 14th century, rings belonging to the Serbian Queen Theodora (before 1322) and King Stephen Radoslav of Serbia (1219–20), King Milutin's mantle from the 1300s, the Eulogy to Prince Lazar - Euphemia's famous embroidery from 1402, about 120 icons from 1200 to 1500, including the Ohrid collection.[5]

Art collection

Diana Presenting the Catch to Pan by Peter Paul Rubens,oil on canvas 1615,W: 211.5 cm (83.3 in). H: 145 cm (57.1 in).

The Collection of Drawings and Prints of International Artists has 2,446 items and the Yugoslav Art Collection has more than 6,000 items, including 1,700 paintings of Serbian authors from 18th to 19th century and 3,000 paintings from the 20th century. This does not include the Serbian Medieval Art Collection.[6] The museum includes Serbian medieval, French, Dutch, Flemish, Italian, Russian, German, Japanese, Chinese (from 1644-1978), English, Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Yugoslav and miscellaneous art collections. In total the collection numbers some 16,000 paintings, graphics, drawings, icons and prints, plus over 900 sculptures.

The French masters collection is the National Museum's most significant holding. It comprises extremely rare pieces from Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Rouault, Degas, Cézanne and others. Most of these paintings were collected and donated by Prince Paul of Yugoslavia. Erih Šlomović, a young Belgrader born at the turn of the 20th century, became in his youth the protégé of the world's biggest art merchant, Ambroise Vollard. The connection led him to develop his own collection, comprising a total of 600 pieces by 1941. The Slomovic Collection is the largest and richest collection of French art in the Balkans, as well as one of the most beautiful in the world.

Italian art collection

Madonna with Christ and small St.John, attributed to Raphael
Adoration, by Lorenzo di Credi

The Italian Art Collection, consisting of more than 230 works of art, is famous for containing creative works from individual masters and artistic workshops from the 14th to the 20th century. They include works by Domenico Veneziano, Giovanni di Paolo, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Domenico Robusti, Vittore Carpaccio, Lorenzo di Credi, Guido Reni, Spinello Aretino, Francesco Bassano the Younger, Leandro Bassano, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, Giulio Carpioni, Andrea Celesti, Biagio Faggioni etc. The graphic and etching collection includes work by Botticelli, Annibale Carracci, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Paolo Veronese, Amedeo Modigliani, Luigi Ontani, Guglielmo Achille Cavellini, Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio, and others.

Highlights in the museum include:

Dutch and Flemish collection

Saint John the Baptist Sermon, by Juan de Flandes
The Temptation of Saint Anthony, by Hieronymus Bosch

The Dutch and Flemish collection consists of more than 500 works (210 paintings of art and 220 graphics and engravings, and over 80 drawings). The National Museum of Serbia was the first museum in the world to include a Piet Mondrian painting in its permanent display.[8] Represented artists include Juan de Flandes, Hieronymus Bosch, Cornelis de Vos, Anthony van Dyck, Antonis Mor, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Marten de Vos, Joos van Cleve, Jan Antonisz. van Ravesteyn, Rubens, Jan van Goyen, Justus Sustermans, Simon de Vos, Jan Victors, Willem van Aelst, Frans van Mieris, Sr., Paulus Potter, Caspar Netscher, Jan Frans van Bloemen, Adam Frans van der Meulen, Godfried Schalcken, Adriaen van Utrecht, Johan Jongkind, Kees van Dongen, Anton Mauve, Allart van Everdingen, Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondrian.

Highlights in the museum include:

French art collection

'Place du Theatre Francais: Sun effect', by Camille Pissarro 1898

The French Art Collection consists of more than 250 paintings and more than 400 graphics and drawings, from the 16th to early 20th century, including the Slomovic Collection (58 paintings and over 200 graphics). Among the French painters represented in the collection are Nicolas Tournier, Robert Tournières, Hubert Robert, Gauguin, Renoir, Lautrec, Matisse, Monet, Cézanne, Degas, Corot, Paul Signac, Maurice Utrillo, Rodin, Georges Rouault, Pierre Bonnard, Pissarro, Redon, Gustave Moreau, Honoré Daumier, Eugène Carrière, Maurice de Vlaminck, André Derain, Suzanne Valadon, Forain, Robert Delaunay, Rosa Bonheur, Marie Laurencin, Félix Ziem. The graphic and etching collection includes work by Charles Le Brun, Sébastien Bourdon, Jacques Callot, Charles-François Daubigny, Degas, Delacroix, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Le Corbusier (3 graphic), Renoir, Jean Cocteau, Eugène Carrière, etc. .

Some of the Museum French Highlights are:

Russian art collection

Portrait of Karageorge by Vladimir Borovikovsky (1816)

The Russian art collection has 90 paintings,and numerous prints,etchings and was mostly donated by Prince Paul of Yugoslavia. The collection also has over 100 icons from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The collection includes work by painters and sculptors such as Ivan Aivazovsky, Marc Chagall, Kandinsky, Roerich, Repin, Filipp Malyavin, Alexei Harlamov, Mikhail Larionov, Boris Grigoriev, Vladimir Borovikovsky, Pavel Kuznetsov, Konstantin Korovin, Kazimir Malevich, Alexandre Benois, El Lissitzky, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Alexander Nikolayevich Samokhvalov, Pyotr Nilus etc.[20]

Some of Russian Art Highlights are:

English art collections

Lady Gavrag Portrait by George Frederic Watts

Includes painters usually from the late 19th century, mostly impressionist and post-impressionist. The vast majority of the collection was donated by Prince Paul of Yugoslavia before World War II.In collection is 64 paintings and watercolors and 51 graphics and etchings. They include painters such as Alfred Sisley, Charles Conder, Philip Wilson Steer, Walter Sickert, Hermione Hammond, James Bolivar Manson, Wyndham Lewis, Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Rowland Fisher,[21] and graphic works from William Hogarth.

Some of English Art works are:

Japanese art collection

View of Edo, by Hirosige
Geishas, by Kunisada

The Japanese Art Collection has 220 works including 36 graphics and paintings (all the graphics belonging to the Ukiyo-e genre, which developed in Japan from the 17th to 19th century - one of the most frequent motifs was the city of Edo). The collection also contains work from Kunisada, Toyokuni, Keisai Eisen, Hiroshige, Utamaro, and Tsuguharu Foujita.

Austrian and German art collections

Pan with Puttas, by Peter Strudel

Austrian and German art collection in National Museum in Belgrade has 112 paintings and numerous graphics and etchings. Painters were usually from 19th and 20th century, while graphics are from the 15th century. Most famous painters in collection are Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, Fritz von Uhde, Karl Hofer, while prints works include Albrecht Dürer (49 prints), Gustav Klimt, Lovis Corinth, Max Slevogt etc... Most paintings were donated by House of Obrenović and Prince Paul of Yugoslavia. Some of the works are:

Others Art Collections

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

Other Art Collection in National Museum in Belgrade include works from Spain, USA, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Australia, China, Canada etc..Collections include paintings from El Greco, Picasso, Mary Cassatt, Burne Hogarth, Felix Philipp Kanitz, László Moholy-Nagy, Eduardo Arroyo, Erró, Sol LeWitt etc.

Madre della Consolazione, by El Greco (1560)
Head of the Woman by Pablo Picasso 1909

Some of works are:

Serbian and Yugoslav art collection

Self Portrait, by Katarina Ivanovic (1836)
Crowning of Serbian Emperor Dusan, by Paja Jovanović, 1900
The Wedding of Emperor Dusan

The Serbian and Yugoslav Art Collection consisting of more 6000 pieces created between the 17th and 20th century. Some of the artists represented are: Marina Abramovic, Paja Jovanović, Stojan Aralica, Petar Lubarda, Milan Konjović, Uroš Predić, Đura Jakšić, Marko Murat, Đorđe Andrejević Kun, Nadežda Petrović, Petar Dobrović, Mića Popović and Sava Šumanović. There are also Slovenian Art works with Matija Jama- (7 canvases), Avgust Černigoj - (6 works), Sketch for theater, Rihard Jakopič - (7 canvases) Birch Trees, Ivan Grohar, Na Pasi and Matej Sternen (4 canvases) Female Reader etc.


The Museum houses sculptures from the early Roman period to the 20th century. The Yugoslav Collection consists of 850 works and the foreign collection has over 50. The most significant collections come from sculptors such as Ivan Meštrović - (96 works), Toma Rosandic, Antun Augustinčić, Frano Kršinić, César Baldaccini, Aristide Maillol, George Minne, Kai Nielsen (sculptor), Risto Stijović, Matija Vuković and Julije Knifer.


On January 25, 2012, after ten years of the National Museum in Belgrade being closed to the public, Vladimir Bogdanović of the leading Serbian newspaper/website Press wrote an article called A decade of cultural genocide against the Serbs, commenting on the need and importance of a working national museum. He also criticised the preservation of the art in the museum.[52]

See also


  1. "Збирке Народног музеја « Народни музеј у Београду".
  2. "National Museum - Reconstruction".
  3. Monuments of Culture in Serbia: Зграда управе фондова / Building of Fund Administration (SANU) (Serbian) (English)
  4. "Memory of the World - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization".
  5. Serbian medieval works of art in Metropolitan Museum in New York
  6. The collections
  7. 1 2 3 4 5
  8. "NATIONAL MUSEUM IN BELGRADE · Another Travel · Belgrade · Museums and galleries".
  9. "NIN / Sklapanje ikonostasa".
  10. "Collective Database for Cultural Heritage - OBJECT: 772".
  12. "Collective Database for Cultural Heritage - OBJECT: 784".
  14. "Collective Database for Cultural Heritage - OBJECT: 807".
  15. Peter Paul Rubens. "Diana Presentig the Catch to Pan - Peter Paul Rubens -".
  16. "Collective Database for Cultural Heritage - OBJECT: 860".
  17. "Blic Online - Izložba "Imaginarni vrtovi Ibera Robera" u atrijumu Narodnog muzeja". Blic Online.
  18. "Sudbina kolekcije Šlomovića".
  19. "Zašto je zbirka podeljena".
  22. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  23. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  24. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  25. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  26. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  27. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  28. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  29. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  30. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  31. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  32. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Artists".
  33. "El Greko - u susret jubileju".
  34. "Pisma otkrivaju enigmu Šlomović".
  35. "Tragedija na šinama".
  38. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Artists".
  39. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Artists".
  40. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Artists".
  41. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Exhibitions".
  42. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Artists".
  43. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Artists".
  44. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Artists".
  45. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Artists".
  46. Arte Media d.o.o. "Narodni muzej u Beogradu - Artists".
  48. "Bronze Female Nude (Relaxation), 1938. Antun Augustincic (1900-1979) was a prominent Croatian sculptor of monuments.". Flickr - Photo Sharing!.
  50. "Female Nude in Marble . Resting - Meditation, by Frano Krsinic (1897–1982).1940. Art Pavilion in Zagreb , temporary exhibit with 100 Croatian masterpieces from Belgrade.". Flickr - Photo Sharing!.
  52. Vladimir Bogdanović of Press (2012-01-25). "Decenija kulturnog genocida nad Srbima" (in Serbian). Retrieved 2012-01-27.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to National Museum of Serbia.

Coordinates: 44°49′00″N 20°27′34″E / 44.8167°N 20.4594°E / 44.8167; 20.4594

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/1/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.