Visual identity for exhibition Anastas Jovanović (1817–1899) – a pioneer of applied art and design

The Museum of Applied Art is marking the Museum Day (6 November) and 67 years since its foundation with the representative exhibition entitled Anastas Jovanović (1817–1899) – a pioneer of applied art and design by Jelena Perać, MA, Museum Advisor.

The exhibition has been organised on the occasion of the Jubilee – 200 years since the birth of Anastas Jovanović, the artist who, with his manifold activity – as the first Serbian photographer and lithographer before anything else – contributed significantly to the launching of complex processes of Europeanisation and modernisation of Serbian society, culture and art in the mid-19th century. The focus of the exhibition is placed on lesser-known works by Anastas Jovanović, hence the public will have the opportunity to see the collection of 39 Jovanović’s drawings kept in the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade and the Gallery of Matica Srpska in Novi Sad. These are designs for silver utility objects, created in Vienna in the period between 1846 and 1858. They are once again, after five decades, presented as a unique collection to the general public.
In the accompanying publication to the exhibition, Jelena Perać introduces us into a typological and stylistic world in which
these works were produced in the context of cultural flows and influences on the Vienna – Belgrade route. Owing to her clear style and studious, synthetic research approach, based on the methodological principles of modern theory of visual arts and contemporary museology, the author has sheds light on a completely new field in the artistic activity of Anastas Jovanović, recognising key artistic–stylistic and historical determinants for his positioning as the pioneer of design in Serbia.

Apart from Anastas Jovanović’s designs, as an interesting addition to the exhibition and a more complex insight into the style and spirit of the epoch in which the drawings were executed, silver objects from the collection of the Museum of Applied Art are also put on display. In stylistic and chronological terms, these items can be regarded as being in a compatible and comparative coherence to the exhibited material. In this manner, emphasis is being given to the historical,
cultural and artistic value of the entire project, with the aim of encouraging the new reception of Anastas Jovanović’s work
both among experts and the general public. A balanced and elegant exposition, as well as a subtle catalogue design, will likewise add much to this goal.
The exhibition Anastas Jovanović (1817–1899) – a pioneer of applied art and design by Jelena Perać, is another in a series of significant, traditional study exhibitions of the Museum of Applied Art which, in the historiographical sense and through
the process of musealisation, sparks new interpretations and readings, and opens a different perspective and a broader evaluation of the entire opus of this important artist of 19th-century Serbian applied arts. We could say – due in large part to the accompanying publication – that a modern scientific, museological and historiographical platform has been launched, inspiring enough for contemporary communication and cultural promotion of the complex phenomenon of Serbian applied art and design.
Last but not least, let us quote the passage from the review by Dr. Milanka Todić, Full Professor of the University of Arts in
Belgrade: ‘The text Anastas Jovanović (1817–1899) – pioneer of applied art and design by Jelena Perać is an ideal example of a studious academic essay which successfully integrates analytical and synthetic approach with transparent and functionally conducted historical and stylistic research based on archival material and relevant domestic and foreign literature. If designations such as “the first Serbian lithographer” and “the first Serbian photographer” are usually affixed
to the name of Anastas Jovanović, then, by virtue of the results presented in the text by Jelena Perać, one should likewise add the designation “the first Serbian industrial designer” who created a series of designs for silver objects of sacral and profane use in the period from 1846 to 1858.
The stylistic and critical reviews presented in the text Anastas Jovanović (1817–1899) – a pioneer of applied art and design, as well as a clear emphasis on the principles of Historicism in the artistic opus of Anastas Jovanović, are of immense significance not only to a better understanding of a littleknown segment in the history of 19thcentury Serbian applied arts, but also for the evaluation of early examples of industrial design in the Principality of Serbia.’
With this reference and with great pleasure, we recommend the exhibition Anastas Jovanović (1817–1899) – a pioneer of applied art and design to public attention.
Ljiljana Miletić Abramović, MA
Acting Head of the Museum of Applied Art
Client: Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade, Serbia