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Dimitrije Avramović: 4 interesting facts

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By Gwylym Owen

Dimitrije “Mita” Avramović (15 March 1815 – 1 March 1855) was a Serbian writer, iconographer, caricaturist and painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the epoch and best known for his iconostasis and frescos. Avramović also translated from German into Serbian Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (“The History of Art in Antiquity”) and further writings. He is considered the dad of militant comic strips in Serbia. His caricatures were used to battle against the authoritarian pronounce of the masses in both the Austrian Empire and the Ottoman Empire at the time.

He wrote two learned books on art from Mount Athos after visiting the monasteries there, Opisanie drevnosti Srbski u svetoi (Atonskoi) Gori (1847)

He was born in Šajkaš, where he, as a boy, moved when his associates to Novi Sad where he started schooling. In 1833 he went to Vienna for the first time, then anew in 1835. He studied painting in Vienna privately later Friedrich Amerling, and later in 1836 to 1839 he was enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts. His professor of history was Leopold Kupelwieser.

In 1840, Avramović came to Belgrade, perhaps following the instruction of Vuk Karadžić, and in the later than year, in 1841, he began to work on painting icons and walls (frescoes) in the Cathedral Church in Belgrade (completed in 1845), the iconostasis and walls of the Karadjordjevich church in the town of Topola, the iconostasis of the Vrdnik-Ravanica Monastery, and the Orthodox Church in Futog. While painting the iconostasis in Topola, he visited the medieval monasteries in Serbia in 1846, including Manasija and Ravanica. Then he began to write roughly monuments in Serbia. The later than year, thanks to Jovan Sterija Popović, he customary funds to travel to the Holy Mountain, better known as Mount Athos in Greece, and realize research. That similar year (1847), he was elected honorary aficionada of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, becoming the first Serbian player to whom such an honour was bestowed.

In the 1848 Hungarian Revolution erupted, and Avramovic then actively participated in a propaganda battle drawing political cartoons. In this activity, he became a investor who launched the art of caricature in Serbia.

In 1851 Avramović married, and next year he moved to Novi Sad, where he made his long-lasting home. Between 1852 and 1853 Avramović painted the iconostasis and walls (frescoes) in the Vrdnik-Ravanica Monastery in Fruska Gora, then began painting the iconostasis in St. John the Sajkaca, and then, in 1855, began to paint the church of Saints Kuzman and Damjan in Old Futog. In parallel, he published cartoons, articles and historical contributions in several magazines. His composition Apotheosis of Lukijan Mušicki is considered to be the first classicist composition in Serbian painting.

His life’s desire was to paint the iconostasis of the church in his native Šajkaš, but his premature death did not allow him to unconditional his work. Along the churches and monasteries, his works are kept in the National Museum in Belgrade and at the Gallery of Matica Srpska in Novi Sad.

He died of a heart anger in Novi Sad in 1855. He was 40.

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