When the National Museum in Belgrade opens its door to the public on 28th June, around 11pm, the visitors will have an opportunity to walk around the renovated exhibition space spanning 5,000 square metres, located on three levels.
The famous Renoir’s painting “Bathing Woman” will be one of the main attractions at the newly opened Museum, which was stolen from the Museum in 1996 and later returned.
The oldest exhibit – the jaw of a Hominidae – is between 300,000 and 500,000 years old, while the youngest exhibition pieces date back from the mid-20th century.
“It is very difficult to pick which are the most attractive exhibits in our permanent exhibition because this is the largest Serbian national museum, which has about 400,000 artifacts and the most representative examples are already included in the permanent exhibition, so they are basically all stars”, estimates Lidija Ham, senior curator and media official of the National Museum.
“We have a part of the mosaics of the Holy Archangels near Prizren (the Emperor Dusan’s endowment), the stamp of Stefan Nemanja, the only object that is known to have belonged to him, and in terms of Serbian national art, there are paintings by Djordje Krstic, Stevan Todorovic, Uros Predic, Paja Jovanovic, Nadezda Petrovic and Sava Sumanović. We are also going to exhibit 200 paintings from foreign collections, including the artwork of Monet, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Renoir (and his “Bathing Woman” has not been exhibited since it was stolen in 1996). Also, we are going to have completely new exhibits. For example, from prehistoric times, we have a part of the jawbone, the oldest exhibit in the whole setting, which is estimated to be between 300,000 to 500,000 years old, the Middle Ages segment will contain artifacts from the Rakovac monastery from 11th and 12th century, as well as copper plates from the 10th century, while the newer period will be represented by a new portrait of Steva Todorovic, which the National Museum received as a gift”, Ham adds.
During the reconstruction, Miroslav’s Gospel was kept in the National Library of Serbia.
“Since they conserved the entire manuscript there, our colleagues from the library advised us on the exposure and storage. This handwriting from the last decade of the 12th century, the oldest in the Cyrillic alphabet, will be exhibited for 10 days during the year and of course we will not miss this opportunity”, she adds.
The mummy to arrive later
The Belgrade mummy is temporarily located in the Archaeological Collection of the Faculty of Philosophy and will not be at the opening, but will be transferred to the Museum at a later date.
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