THE PERMANENT COLLECTION OF SERBIAN ART OF THE 18TH CENTURY
In the collective memory of the Serbian people Sava Tekelija (1761–1842) stands out as one of the greatest Serbian patrons and benefactors, the individual who contributed most to the cultural and educational well-being of his nation in Hungary at the end of the 18th and in the 19th century.
The precious collection of family portraits from Tekelija’s bequest, in view of its historical significance, was an invaluable component in the foundation of the Museum of Matica Srpska and its art collection, as it is still today one of the focal points in the Gallery of Matica Srpska.
The members of the Tekelija family are portrayed in a representative manner, as public figures. Through their stance and the symbolism of their accessories, the sitters bear testimony to their social and economic status. The early portraits from the second and third decade of the 18th century were painted by anonymous local and foreign artists, while the later portraits can be attributed, with the help of chronology and stylistic characteristics, to the prominent Serbian painters of the 18th and the first half of the 19th century, notably, Stefan Tenecki, Jakov Orfelin, Teodor Ilić Češljar, Georgije Tenecki and Stefan Gavrilović.