Cover Osteuropa 12/2009

In Osteuropa 12/2009

Martyrdom for the Nation
The Slavic Balkans in the Painting of the 19th Century

Martina Baleva

Deutsche Fassung


In the beginning was Delacroix. He gave expression to Greece’s striving for independence. After that, artists from East Central Europe directed their interest to the Balkans. They dedicated numerous pictures to the anti-Ottoman uprisings of the south Slavic peoples and made their cause well-known. In doing so, they fell back on archetypical motifs of occidental tradition, thus creating the narrative of national martyrdom and stereotypes about the Balkans. With their oeuvre, they influenced the self-perception of the Slavs and facilitated their nation-building. At the same time, the artists implicitly criticized political conditions at home and expressed their own national ambitions.

(Osteuropa 12/2009, pp. 41–52)