Collection of Art Works
Collection of Art Works is unique because of number and value of art works that is in it. Credits for founding of this collection should be given to general Vojislav Vuković, who was director of Military Museum in period between 1934 and 1945 and also to Advisory and Artistic Board of Military Museum.
Art works have been coming to museum either by purchases, orders or as presents. Ministry of Army and Navy of Kingdom of Yugoslavia secures significant resources for purchase of art works for Military Museum, which contributed to fact that a valuable collection was formed in a short time. Fund of the collection increased with presents which Military Museum received from both individuals and institutions. Among first of them were artist and their descendants.
Special value of the collection are works of “ War painters 1912-1918” About 500 paintings, drawings and sketches were collected from 18 war painters. National enthusiasm led entire generation of artists into horrors of war. On numerous Serbian battlefields from Cer to Salonika, around 40 painters were creating art works while they were serving as soldiers or volunteer corpsmen. Painters were disposed in army units so they could capture life on front and operation of Serbian Army. They have sketched their impressions in their small sketching pads during the first years of war. Those are figures and characters of ordinary soldiers, officers, wounded soldiers, battlefields, weapons, battles and death. This is a valuable documentary material that speaks about one period and its strains and ideals.
Beside the documentary art, during four years of war in exile, on islands of wounds and martyrdom, most famous Serbian Impressionism works have been created. Among war painters there were ones that were creating our Modern Art: Nadežda Petrović, Kosta Miličević, and Mihailo Milovanović. So the First World War didn’t brought just heavy casualties to Serbian Art but enriched it with many masterpieces.
After the Second World War, collection was increased for another fund of art works. Those were works that have been created in the period between 1941 and 1945. This fund was created with purchases and presents. It consists of works of “NOR” fighters and of artists that have spent war years in prisoner and concentration camps. Collection continued to increase with presents from our kind donors; descendants of general Vojislav Vuković and general Jevrem Damjanović gave portraits of their prominent ancestors and other valuable objects to Military Museum.
Great Donation to Military Museum was given by Gallery of Central Club of Army of Yugoslavia in 1993. On that occasion Collection of Art Works was increased for 391 paintings. These were Modern Art works with motives of Second World War or life in the Army and they were all works of our prominent painters: Milo Milunović, Milan Konjović, Miloš Bajić, Radenko Mišević, Boško Rismiović and others. Miloš Gvozdenović gave ten of his paintings created using photos from Battle of Cer. Ministry of Defence recently gave Museum six valuable paintings.
Collection has works of most famous Serbian painters like: Uroš Knežević, Stevan Todorović, Uroš Predić, Paja Jovanović, Kosta Miličević, Veljko Stanojević, Petar Lubarda, Milo Milunović, Mladen Srbinović and of some that were unfairly forgotten: Russian painter Vsevolod Guljevič, portraitist Nikola Milojević and painter Mihailo Milovanović.
As a part of the collection, we also have a very valuable Collection of Maps with original geography and military maps from 17th, 18th and 19th century. Mostly they were made using old technique of copper engraving and manual painting. There is also a valuable collection of city panoramas. They are both distinctive for great art quality, geographical entirety, precision considering time in which they were created and extraordinary calligraphy and ornaments.
Since the foundation of Museum in 1878, Collection of Art Works has passed through all phases of development necessary for this kind of institution. Today, Collection of Art Works of Military Museum has around three thousand works and they are completely different in several ways including time of creation and artistic value. In long period since 17th century, shaken by wars and turbulent events, several generations of painters of different styles have been creating. We have works of leading artists of Baroque, Romanticism, Realism, Secession, Impressionism, Poetic and Colourful Realism, Expressionism up to Abstract Expressionism and New Figuration. We have works of great masters, but also from less famous artists whose work shouldn’t disparage their importance. On contrary, their works represent significant data about people and events from our past, valuable documents that describe us characters that have created our History.
Curator of the Collection: Ljubica Dabić