National museum in Belgrade is a complex museum. It is the largest, oldest and central museum of Serbia, which, after its long existence, since its founding in distant 1844, preserves more than 400,000 objects that make up a unique cultural heritage of Serbia, the Central Balkans, and Europe.
With the building in the very center of Belgrade, on the Republic Square, the National Museum is studying, publishing and exhibiting representative cultural assets, testimonies of development and civilization changes in the area of today’s Serbia and the closest environment, from prehistoric times to the late medieval period, as well as representative works of key artistic styles and movements, supreme artistic achievements in national and European art from the Middle Ages to contemporary creativity.
After the fundamental renovation of the museum building from 1903 and the annex from 1933, and after three years since the last exhibition, which was held before the beginning of construction works in 2015, the National Museum will have its grand opening for visitors on June 28, 2018, ready for the new chapter in its long life.
The new permanent exhibition of the museum encompasses a huge chronological range from the distant Palaeolithic time to the art of the 20th century. Organized on three levels of a representative building, the setting will be deployed on 5,000 m2 of exhibition space. Representing the entire fond of the National Museum, carefully selected exhibits, as well as the setting, will in general be testifying about the outstanding archaeological research conducted by the experts of the National Museum, the types of representation of Serbian rulers through art objects, donors and collectors, both graphically and chronologically, and at the same time non-linear and straightforward will guide the visitors from prehistory to contemporary art.
The starting point in designing a new museum setting, where curators of the National Museum were participating along with designers Jelena Stefanović, Igor and Irena Stepančić, was an effort to provide an open insight into art and the past through a balanced combination of conventional and innovative settings. With the reopening and with strengthened capacity, the National Museum strives to be an active and modern institution, which at the same time features tradition, along with openness and flexibility. The attempt was to make the settings to the visitors more clear and comprehensible, with the awareness that the museum is among the few places where it is possible to have direct contact with cultural goods that carry different values in them, from historical, cultural, aesthetic and scientific to economic and symbolic values.
Through this permanent setting, the results of all museum services and activities, from research and conservation to interpretation and education, are interweaving. The National Museum is a living organism, a pulsating center that is largely made up of people working in it and who used to work in it.
Wishing to make the National Museum as accessible as possible to various visitors, we have strived to provide the visual harmony and accompanying materials in the form of texts, legends and digital content enabling pleasant stay in the museum, as well as the opportunity for discovering, learning and enjoying.
HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM BUILDING
The building where the National Museum is located today was erected at the site of the former “Dardaneli” café, in one of the most important locations of the city of Belgrade, in a square that was formed in the 19th century by demolishing the Stambol Gate and raising the building of the National Theater and the Monument to the Prince Mihailo.
The building was built for the needs of the Fund Management 1902-1903. year, according to architects Andre Stevanovic and Nikola Nestorovic. Symbolic decorations on the facades and in the interior was done by the construction liquor Franja Valdman, while the painting decorations were done by Bor Kovačević and Andrea Domeniko.
The development of the Fund Management into the State Mortgage Bank showed the need for expansion and reconstruction of the building. Works were carried out from 1930-1933. according to the project of architect Vojin Petrović.
The building was damaged during the bombing in 1944, and according to the project of architect Vojislav Marković in 1946, the reconstruction was carried out after which the State Investment Bank was moved into the building.
The building get a new purpose in 1950, when it is awarded to the National Museum. According to the project of the architect Dobroslav St. Pavlovic the building was reconstructed for the needs of the museum, which opened for the audience in 1952.
The new reconstruction, which included restoring the central dome and raising the new central tract with the workspace for the curator and conservation laboratories, was carried out in 1965-1966 by architects Aleksandar Deroko, Petar Anagnosti and Zoran Petrovic.
According to its stylistic characteristics, the building belongs to a group of academically conceived objects, based on the principles of neo-renaissance. According to the volume conception, which makes a massive block with domes over central and lateral rationalities on the main façade, as well as according to the academically understood decor, the building can be classified into the monumental palaces built here at the passage of centuries. After the building of the National Bank (built in 1889), the building of the Fund Management was one of the earliest banking facilities in our country.
The National Museum building is a representative example of public palaces in Belgrade’s architecture from the late 19th and early 20th century. It is proclaimed a cultural monument of great importance (Decision “Official Gazette SRS” No. 14/79) and is located within the spatial cultural and historical unit “Knez Mihailova street”, which has been established as a cultural good of exceptional importance (Decision “Official SRS Bulletin No. 14/79).
COLLECTIONS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM
The National Museum in Belgrade, as the Museum of Serbia, was founded on May 10, 1844. In the central building of the National Museum, on the Republic Square, majority of the material, content, complex and various basic and academic collections are located, or about 45,000 archaeological objects of the prehistoric, antique and medieval period, 287,000 copies of ancient, Byzantine and medieval coins as well as new century with medals, plaques and decor, about 16,000 artworks by Serbian, Yugoslav and foreign artists (paintings, graphics, drawings, icons) and about 1000 sculptures.
Among the most important cultural goods, collections that include an outstanding chronological range include: monumental sculptures from Lepenski Vir (7th millennium BC), Vinca figurines (6-5th millennium BC), carts from Dupljaja (16th century BC). golden masks from Trebenište (6th century BC), storage of silver vessels from Jabučje (1st century AD), Belgrade stone (4th century), bronze portrait of Constantine the Great (4th century), Miroslav’s Gospel (12th century), the first money forged in Serbia, King Radoslav (13th century), medieval frescoes and icons from Orthodox monasteries and churches, numerous works by Serbian and Yugoslav authors, such as Steve Todorovic, Djordje Krstic, Uros Predic, Paje Jovanovic (19th century), Nadezhda Petrovic, Sava Sumanovic or Ivan Mestrovic (20th century), as well as extraordinary works by artists from other countries of Europe, such as Karpac, Rubens, Guards, Dega, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso or Mondrian.
The atrium space will be presenting the archaeological collections of the National Museum which covers the chronological range from the Paleolithic to the ancient Greece and the dominant Roman culture and art.
The permanent exhibition aims to present non-linear cultures in the chronological sequence, and for the setup, a representative material is singled out, which, in a picturesque and crisp way, speaks about everyday life in the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron Age, Roman and Late Antiquity.
Since the exhibition space of the atrium is not spacious enough to present, through numerous and varied thematic units, all interesting and attentive phenomena, in addition to representing the entirety defined by the curator, the manner of exposure, design, lighting or in some other way accentuated phenomena such as culture Lepensky source, neolithization, the emergence of the oldest metallurgy of copper, the significance and functions of the Roman provinces in the structure of the Roman Empire, with an overview of the origin of a certain number of Roman emperors.
In the premises where the medieval objects are exhibited, exhibit spaces are lowered into ten thematic units presenting the period from the middle of the early medieval right up to the First Serbian Uprising.
It is an exceptional, very versatile material that includes jewelry, ceramics, icons, frescoes and copies of frescoes, massive stone plastics, works of art and objects of applied art, which in a dynamic way testify and meet visitors with a distant middle aged on the soil of today’s Serbia.
In the second part of the exhibition space, on the first floor, there are spaces exhibiting the works of the 18th and 19th century Serbian painting collection.
In the last segment at this level, visitors will be able to see a selection of drawings and graphics of foreign and domestic authors. This part of the setting will be changed for several months due to the limited paperwork exposure options.
The exhibition space on the second floor consists of three parts. Two parts are an integral part of the permanent exhibition, in which works of foreign artists and works from the 20th century Yugoslav painting collection will be exhibited. The third whole is made by the Great Hall, a space that will be used in the future for the thematic exhibitions of the National Museum as well as other museum institutions.
Amongst the segments of the permanent setting, visitors are often the most attractive part in which the works of foreign artists will be presented. This exceptional collection will be presented through pictures and pastels, as well as a smaller number of sculptures that correspond to the selected paintings.
The collection of Yugoslav 20th century painting will be presented with at least 200 pieces of diverse stylistic trends. With the enjoyment of painting, visitors in these showrooms will be able to get acquainted with the selection of sculptures, which adequately corresponds with the entire setting.
Working hours :
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday: 10-18
Thursday and Saturday: 12-20
Monday: a non-working day
Ticket price 300 dinars
Sunday visits are not charged