THE COLLECTION OF THE 19TH CENTURY
In the thirties of the 19th century on the Serbian artistic stage appeared a generation of painters who introduced Biedermeier and Nazarene artistic programmes from Middle Europe. As a stylistic expression which deeply permeated into the then Serbian art, Biedermeier was most suitable for the wide circles of people who took care of themselves, their families and their homes.
In the changed social circumstances in which the middle class became the carrier of social changes, the family became the basic unit of the modern society and the main scene of private life. The consciousness of the importance of the family was confirmed and visualized by family portraits, the group ones as well as the ones showing individual family members. Family portraits showed the social status of the family, but at the same time, they were also private, and as such were an important part of the family cult.
In addition to portraits, Biedermeier painting encompassed genre scenes and still life. The most significant representatives of Biedermeier expression in Serbian painting were Konstantin Danil and Nikola Aleksić.
Konstantin Danil (Lugoš, 1802 – Veliki Bečkerek, 1873) created the most valuable collection in Serbian Biedermeier painting. He devoted full attention to naturalistically real, almost tangible and tactile processing of the matter, textile, embroidery, jewellery, thereby bringing the mastery of lazur painting to perfection. Numerous representations of the middle class, precise details and minute technique give an insight into the spirit of the time in which they were created. Apart from portraits and religious paintings, which predominate in his painting, he also tried his hand at painting still lifes.
Nikola Aleksić (Stari Bečej, 1808 – Arad, 1873) created significant works of art in the sphere of religious and portrait painting. An important part of his portrait collection is a group of family and children portraits, which represent a unique genre unit in Serbian 19th century painting. The fact that there were portraits of children and the need to show the picture of a child in a middle-class interior testifies to changes in social beliefs and to new values, whereby the wealthy middle-class, traders` and clerical families were accepted and recognized.