CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


Hybridity as Authenticity: Cultural Contact, Geography and Early Modern Balkan Visual Culture

Session 14 The Other and the Foreign: Contact, Curiosity, and Creative Exchange

University of Belgrade


 In the early modern period, a particular visual culture appeared on the territory of the Balkans, whose geographical position, cultural contacts, historical heritage and political circumstances led to its emergence. The characteristics of the visual culture of the Balkans originated from its hybrid character, as it was a unique blend made of older Christian medieval tradition, Ottoman-Islamic visual practice, Mediterranean and Central European art. Besides the hybridity caused by different influences, another general characteristic of the entire visual production of the Balkans was its unique common component. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the decorative-symbolic forms of the Ottoman baroque characterized not only mosques and Ottoman public buildings, but also churches, synagogues and private visual culture. The early modern and modern Balkan visual culture demonstrate the historical creation of hybrid art, as well as reception of hybridity in art history. Hybridity emerged as a result of complex historical, geographical and social circumstances and that is why it bears the stamp of authenticity. Such visual practice did not fit into the canons of art history, which conditioned its belittlement and destruction. 



Nenad Makuljević is Professor of Art history at the University of Belgrade, and Chair of the Department of Art history at the Faculty of Philosophy.  His main research areas are Serbian 19th-century art, Balkan visual culture, art historiography, the relation between art and politics, and Ottoman-Christian - Jewish interconnections in visual culture. Makuljević received his PhD in 2004 from the University of Belgrade. He has published, among others, three books: Umetnost i nacionalna ideja u XIX veku: sistem evropske i srpske vizuelne kulture u službi nacije  2006 (Art and National Idea in 19th Century: System of European and Serbian Visual Culture in the Service of Nation), Crkvena umetnost u Kraljevini Srbiji (1882-1914) 2007 (Church Art in the Kingdom of Serbia (1882-1914)), and Osmansko-srpsko Beograd: vizuelnost i kreiranje gradskog identiteta (1815-1878) 2014 (Ottoman-Serbian Belgrade: Visuality and the Creation of Urban Identity (1815-1878). He is coeditor of volume Common Culture and Particular Identities: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Ottoman Balkans (El Prezente vol. 7- Menorah 3, 2013). Makuljević has been a participant in several international projects, and was organizer of the international conference Visual Culture of the Balkans: State of Research and Further Directions in Belgrade 2014.