1594 Burning of the Remains of St Sava
The National Museum
Stevan Aleksic (1876, Arad, Romania-1923, Modos, Kingdom of Serbians, Croats and Slovenians (nowadays in Serbia))
Oil on canvas
200 x 352 cm
Novi Sad, Vojvodina (nowadays Serbia)
The Serb Stevan Aleksić was a student of Nikolaos Gyzis at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. The painting presented here shows him as a representative of academic realism, yet at the same time testifies to a significant gift for a striking play of light effects.
In 1594, the Ottoman conquerors burned the remains of the Orthodox Christian saint, Sava, in Belgrade as a punitive deterrent against Serbian rebellion. St. Sava had played a pivotal role in the early 13th century. He was not just an Orthodox archbishop, but also the author of the first Serbian legal code. The foreign rulers thus asserted an important symbol of their power. In order to preserve the memory of the people's saint, a small church was first built on the site; then, in 1935, the Serbian Orthodox Church prepared the ground for the St. Sava Cathedral, today one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.
It is no surprise that Aleksić made this choice of subject in 1912, considering the political backdrop of the time. It was the year when Serbia joined the Balkan League, which launched the First Balkan War against the Ottoman Empire.
Petar Petrovic "1594 Burning of the Remains of St Sava" in "Sharing History", Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.sharinghistory.org/database_item.php?id=object;AWE;sb;6;en
Prepared by: Petar Petrovic
MWNF Working Number: RS 006