Jovan Klajić

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Jovan Klajić
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Novi Sad, Austrian Empire
Died14 July 1883
Srbobran, Principality of Serbia
  • Artist
  • Iconographer
  • Portrait painter
  • Restorer

Jovan Klajić (Serbian Cyrillic: Јован Клајић; Novi Sad, Austrian Empire, 1815 - Turija, near Srbobran, Principality of Serbia, 14 July 1883) was a well-known nineteenth century Serbian artist, iconographer, portrait painter and restorer. He mostly did iconostasis in the villages of Bač. He is often mentioned along with Arsenije Teodorović, Konstantin Danil, Pavle Simić, Novak Radonić, Đura Jakšić, Đorđe Krstić and others. [1][2]

Klajić's portraits and paintings can be found in museums and art galleries across Serbia. His wall paintings in a Belgrade church, however, were totally demolished during a World War II bombing raid[3] He also did important restoration work on the iconostasis of the Church of Sv. Teodora Tirona in Irig during the second half of the 1800s[4].

Life and work

After Jovan Klajić completed elementary school and high school in Novi Sad, he enrolled in the Faculty of Philosophy [5] at Cluj. There, in Cluj and in Erdelj, he started studying jurisprudence. Later, he studied law in Pecs and from there he graduated. Upon graduation, he enrolled at a seminary. He left the seminary due to illness. Later, he took up the study of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and in 1840 he met Pavle Simić, whom he helped to paint icons (as in Glina), and collaborated with him for the rest of his life.

He painted icons in the Old Cathedral in Novi Sad. St. John's Orthodox Church, especially its iconostasis, was destroyed during the Hungarian uprising of 1848-1849. With the help of lawyer Konstantin Isaković, the church was repaired and the iconostasis was painted by Klajić in 1853.[6]

Among the more important works of Jovan Klajić should be mentioned the iconostasis in Bajša (1854)[7], where the founders were the nobles Zako, and in Vrbas, Serbia (1861-1862). He worked on the iconostasis in Turija (1857), Bačko Gradište (1859-1860) as well as in a church in Serbia.

In the fall of 1855, the church community in Kuzmin publicly thanked the icon painter Klajić for a job well done - decorating the interior of the church there. Fresco painter Karl Vilinovski also worked with him.[8]

In addition, there are a large number of portraits in Serbian houses, which are the work of this capable painter. He was a highly educated man and artist whose works do not lag behind the works of great painters from his era, which left many significant traces in our country.

Jovan Klajić died, as it is written on his monument in Turija.


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