THE PERMANENT COLLECTION OF SERBIAN ART OF THE 18TH CENTURY
Frescos played a significant role in the Baroque period. The centuries-old tradition of ornamenting churches with murals was an ancient tradition and part of the Byzantine heritage that was quite welcome to both contemporary patrons and artists because they could adapt the role of fresco painting to the needs of the Baroque era and the new esthetic principles. These principles were proclaimed by the Orthodox church, its metropolitans and bishops as they sought for "the magnificent", "the superb" and "the superlative". Its presence in regions north of the Sava and Danube was an expression of endurance and loyalty to tradition, and it has been noted in almost all of the churches. The church at the Rakovac monastery, built between 1498 and 1521, preserves frescos painted around 1533 in its dome and beneath it. The church of St. Nicholas in Slankamen, built in 1470, has fresco fragments from the end of the 15th century. At Petkovica, almost the entire enterior is covered with frescos preserved from 1588. In Novo Hopovo, built in 1576, paintings on all the walls of the church have been preserved from the years 1608 and 1654. In the church in the village of Krušedol, at the women's monastery of Mother Angelina, built between 1512 and 1516, one finds frescos from the first half of the 17th century. The tri-conch church at the monastery of Krušedol, built between 1509 and 1512, has frescos on the pillars beneath the cupola from 1545, and on the outer side of the west wall there is a fresco from the beginning of the 17th century.
In the mid-18th century, all the interior walls of the church at Krušedol were painted once again, but this time in Baroque style and with the new technique of oil painting. The further development of frescos was founded on the concept of the patronage mechanism, on the open spaces adapted to the architecture, on the vaults and higher zones of the church, adapted to the observer's point of view. The iconographic repertoire and iconological rhetoric of the frescos at Bođani (1737) indicate that their painter, Hristofor Žefarović introduced an entire new series of scenes that created a most intimate connection to the tradition, but through this collection he introduced new themes and an iconography expanded with the rhetorical devices of citations from the Bible. The interpretation of the literary underpinnings is made visual by the modern clothing and the realistic settings. The compositions at the monastery of Krušedol (1756-1775), then at the monastery of Grabovac, at the Uspenska (Dormition) Church and Almaška Church in Novi Sad, and at other churches, all presented Baroque-illusionist tendencies.
Copies of the 18th century frescos are just a small part of the large and significant collection that came about as a result of the project begun in 1956, the goal of which was to note characteristic segments of significant artifacts and artists represented in the collections, including the frescos that have started to fade either because of technical reasons or because of the long period of the lack of preservation and the poor conditions in the churches. The copying project has employed the painters Dušan Mihailović, Naum Andrić, Zdenka Živković, Petar Balabanović and Stanislav Čavić.