Saturday, November 1, 2014

Uros Predic

The Kosovo Maiden
oil on canvas
115 x 88 cm

The Kosovo Maiden or Maiden of the Blackbird Field is the central figure of a poem with the same name, part of the Kosovo cycle in the Serbian epic poetry. In it, a young beauty searches the battlefield for her betrothed husband and helps wounded Serbian warriors with water, wine and bread after the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 between Serbia and Ottoman Empire. She finally finds wounded and dying warrior Pavle Orlovic who tells her that her fiancee Milan Toplica and his blood-brothers Milos Obilic and Ivan Kosancic are dead. Before the battle they had given her a cloak, golden ring and veil for the wedding as a promise of safe return, but they were slain and Pavle pointed to the direction of the bodies. The poem finishes with;
    "O wretch! Evil is your fortune!
    If I, a wretch, were to grasp a green pine,
    Even the green pine would wither."
The poem became greatly popular as a symbol of womanly compassion and charity.

Uros Predic (1857-1953) started work on this painting on the eve of World War I and finished it in 1919. The sketch was made in 1914 at the request of the Kolo Srpskih Sestara charity and was to be used for making picture postcards sold for humanitarian purposes. He was inspired by the national myth about the first Serbian nurse.

He was born in Orlovat, Servia and graduated from the Art academy in Vienna in 1880. Hee was an assistant professor at the Art academy in Vienna in the period from 1883to 1885. Then he returned to his native village Orlovat, where he painted a series of paintings about the life of his fellow villagers. From 1886 until his death, he mainly lived and worked in Belgrade. He was elected as a member of the Serbian Royal Academy. He was one of the founders of the Society of painters in Belgrade, and was its first president. He painted the icons for the Becej orthodox church, and the icons for the chapel of Bogdan Dunderski. He died in Belgrade, at the age of 96, as the longest living Serbian painter.