In this post, I will write about the Applied Arts and Ethnological Department in the National Museum Zrenjanin. I dedicated my previous post to the cross-section of Serbian painting in this museum, starting with the 18th century religious art to the 20th century modern painting.
There are other departments in the museum, but it would be too much to write about all of them. Certainly, the best thing that you can do is to visit the museum and see them all for yourself. So, I hope that this and the previous post will give you a good flavour of the museum and that they will inspire you to plan your visit.
The other museum departments are: natural history, archaeology and history. They are all educational and very interesting to see. All these departments form a precious museum of which, undoubtedly, the city of Zrenjanin is very proud of.
Together with the Fine Arts collection, the Applied Arts in the museum form an integral art department section. In fact, when you start your visit of the museum, first you see the Applied Arts before you arrive to the section of the museum with Serbian paintings.
The Applied Arts section incorporates items collected since the foundation of the museum in 1906. The impressive collection consists of porcelain, glass and metal artefacts, plus the furniture.
The furniture part of the collection presents noble and civic interiors of Vojvodina houses between the 18th and the end of the 19th century.
Various furniture styles have been exhibited, blending Baroque and Classicism with the civic Biedermeier style.
Most pieces of furniture that you can see in the museum came from Austria, Hungary, Germany, France and Italy, while there is a small section that was made in local factories, such as “Bence & Son”.
The Applied Arts section of the museum consists of four distinctively painted rooms. As you will see in the photos in this post, each room is full of paintings, applied art exhibits and pieces of furniture.
When you visit museums and when you come across sections like this one, the first question that you may ask yourself is how much in detail you need to pay attention to everything that’s exhibited.
Personally, I decided not to dwell too much over each and every exhibit, rather I looked at them in their unity as intended by the people who decided their place in the museum.
But, from time to time, when I saw something that I particularly liked, I checked to see what it was. Certainly, it didn’t help that there was nowhere written about each individual exhibit in every room. Furthermore, I couldn’t find any detailed information afterwards.
Then, there was also another dilemma that I faced. How many photos should I take and present in a post? Would just an overall image of the whole room be enough or should I take photos of as many individual exhibits as possible? Would it make sense to go into such details?
In the end, I went for several photos of each room in the museum. As I said, the best thing is to visit the museum and then you can decide what really interests you and what you want to see in greater detail.
Having seen the orange and the red room, I arrived to the biggest part of the Applied Arts section – the room 3 or the green room.
You can see wonderful pieces of furniture on exhibition.
I also took photos of several paintings in this particular room.
Below, you can see the other end of this same room and through the door you can see the red and the orange rooms that I’ve just mentioned.
In the photo below, you can see a cabinet that stands in the corner of the green room as shown in the photo above.
Finally, the last room in the Applied Arts department of the museum is the blue room.
You may say that it’s just four rooms, but if you think about it, there are so many exhibits with a story to tell. Perhaps, people interested in this field of art could try and learn more about the artefacts that interest them the most.
For everyone else, I hope that photos in this post will give you a good insight of this particular part of the museum.
UROŠ PREDIĆ LEGACY
Undoubtedly, Uroš Predić is one of the greatest Serbian Realist painters and one of my favourites. You can see his magnificent paintings in the National Museum in Belgrade and also in Matica Srpska Gallery in Novi Sad.
In this museum in Zrenjanin, you can see his bequest. Uroš Predić moved to Belgrade in 1909, where he lived until his death in 1953. In Belgrade, he lived and worked in his brother’s house in Svetogorska street.
After his death, at the initiative of the National Museum Zrenjanin, all of his work from his Belgrade studio was brought to the museum, forming this legacy. Donated items included the works from different periods of his life.
In addition to paintings and drawings, a prominent place in the legacy belongs to a documentary section with his notes, written correspondence, photos, books and catalogues, visit cards and personal items. Some pieces of furniture and the painting material were also brought to the museum.
This legacy is of great significance for studying the life and work of Uroš Predić, it’s crucial for understanding and appreciating his entire oeuvre.
THE VARADY FAMILY LEGACY
Next, you will come across the Varady Family legacy. It’s one of the most prominent and respected Hungarian families in Zrenjanin, starting with the 20th century to the present day.
During the First World War, the founder of the family law office, Imre Varady, defended a large number of Serbian intellectuals arrested after the 1914 Sarajevo assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferninand, which was the most immediate cause of that war.
He and his son Jozsef defended the Jews during the Nazi occupation and also the Germans after the Second World War. Both of them advocated the rights of the Hungarian minority in Yugoslavia.
Certainly, it’s an interesting family with a local significance. Thus, it’s understandable that you can see their legacy in the museum.
TODOR MANOJLOVIĆ LEGACY
Finally, the last legacy in the museum is dedicated to a poet, playwright, essayist and art critic Todor Manojlović. With his first major 1930 work “Centrifugal Player”, he established the modern Serbian drama.
The reason that you can see his legacy in the museum is because he was born in Zrenjanin in 1883 and lived there until his death in 1968.
THE ETHNOLOGICAL DEPARTMENT
One more section of this museum that I want to present in this post is the Ethnological Department. It was a very nice surprise, at the very end of my visit.
The permanent collection consists of three parts: rural interiors, folk costumes and economy.
In my opinion, the most interesting were the four rooms presenting the late 19th and early 20th century rural guest-room interiors of Hungarian, Romanian, Slovakian and Serbian households.
There is also an interior of the Serbian kitchen from that same period, in the fifth room.
In other rooms within the Ethnological Department, you can see costumes of people that used to live in Banat at that time. In fact, those same nations still live there although I believe that, over the past century, their numbers may have changed, with Serbs being the most numerous.
There are also items related to rural crafts, agriculture and livestock.
Of course, it’s impossible and unnecessary to take pictures of absolutely everything in the museum and show in the post.
Certainly, these four different rural rooms are very interesting to see. While they all look similar, differences are significant and refer to the customs and aesthetics adopted by each individual nation living in that part of Vojvodina.
But we can also see that, despite the differences in design and motifs, the concept of living was practically the same. There was a table in the middle of the room, with two beds on each side and with some other auxiliary furniture.
Finally, you can see the Serbian kitchen in the photo below. While it appears neat and functional, it’s nowhere near what we have today in our modern-day kitchens, with modern appliances, electricity and clean running water. But, that’s how people used to live in the past.
Both, the Applied Arts and Ethnological Department in the National Museum Zrenjanin are very interesting to see. But, the same as always, one visit to the museum is not enough to see, process and absorb everything properly.
I would like to go back to this museum in the future. Next time, I’d pay more attention to details that I may have certainly missed.
For the time being, I have this and my previous post to remind me of this magnificent museum.
Finally, I would urge everyone to go Zrenjanin, you will enjoy both the city and its museum.