The Museum of Applied Arts
The Most Complex Collection of Period Furniture of the 19th Century in Serbia and a Unique Collection of Sundials: The building in Toplicin venac, which houses the Museum of Applied Arts, was built between 1927 and 1929 in the academic style. Stevan Belic created an architectural project, and the facade was made according to the design of Nikola Krasnov. The building used to house the Spanish Embassy, law offices, and fashion salons.
The Museum of Applied Arts in Belgrade was founded on the 6th of November 1950, and during the first year of its existence, it bought the collection of a painter and graphic artist Ljuba Ivanovic, which consisted of more than 3,000 items. According to the artistic value, the most significant part of the collection were goldsmith products, wood carvings, icons, manuscripts, and printed books. Today, the museum consists of more than 37,000 objects from the country and the world, and the oldest among the pieces is money from ancient Greece, which dates from the 4th century BC.
Art collections are divided into several departments:
– Period furniture
– Metal and jewelry
– Textile and costumes
– Ceramics, glass, and porcelain
– Collection of contemporary applied arts and design
– Photography and applied graphics
– Collection of architecture, urbanism, and architectural design.
The Department of Period Furniture contains the most complex collection of furniture of the 19th century in Serbia. One of the most beautiful pieces is a baroque tabernacle from southern Germany, made in a combination of walnut wood, boxwood, poplar, and ash.
The Biedermeier-style sewing table dates from 1820, and the Alpine-Lombard type chest was created in the 15th century. In addition to cabinets, dressers, mirrors, and chests, a particularly significant part of the collection is 16 sundials from Germany dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Among them is a remarkable pocket sundial from Nuremberg from 1640.
The Collection of Metals and Jewelry includes money, gems, cameos, jewelry, and sacral objects, with emphasis on metal crosses (Hand Cross from Herzegovina from the turn of the 16th to 17th century). Among the artifact are the silver rings from medieval Serbia (Ring of Radulo from Novo Brdo, end of the 14th century) and the European jewelry masterpieces of the 19th century that deserve special attention. The collection also includes rare items such as a cruet frame from the Austrian Empire made of gilded silver.
The section dedicated to textiles and costumes displays artifacts that cover the period from the 4th to the beginning of the 20th century. It consists of old Coptic fabrics, oriental carpets, European tapestries, carpets made in Pirot, and local middle-class costumes. The collection contains rare objects such as a fan from the 19th century, made of ivory, silk, wood, and metal, as well as bath clogs decorated with nacre belonging to the Ottoman Empire.
Objects made of ceramics, glass, and porcelain cover the period from the 1st century A.D. to the 20th century. The collection consists of the European glass and products from porcelain workshops (majolica from Italy and valuable pieces of the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory), as well as the national artistic achievements (objects made of glass from Jagodina and Paracin). The collection also includes an exceptional travel chest for the spirits from 19th century France, made of glass and wood, decorated with nacre.
The Department of Contemporary Applied Arts and Design contains a variety of items dating from the early 20th century to the present day. The collection consists of ceramics, illustrations, photographs, caricatures, comics, and posters.
The Collection of Photography and Applied Graphics contains oriental manuscripts, medieval icons, Serbian manuscripts and printed books, postcards, and photographs taken by Anastas Jovanovic, the founder of Serbian applied arts. The manuscript “Belgrade Armorial II” and the icon of St. Demetrius (14/15 century) stand out as artifacts of exceptional artistic value.
The Department of Architecture, Urbanism, and Architectural Design was founded in 1974, and it is dedicated to architecture and architectural design of the 20th century. Thanks to this department, the exhibition Salon of Architecture is organized every year, whit one of the most prestigious awards in this field, the Grand Prix.
The Museum of Applied Arts in Belgrade also contains departments for conservation (with a specialized workshop for conservation and restoration of furniture) and education, responsible for the annual exhibition Children’s October Salon, one of the most significant manifestations of children’s art.