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Jovan Soldatović

(YO-van SOL-dah-toh-vich)

Birthplace: Čerević, Serbia

Heritage: Serbian

Date born: November 26th 1920

Date of death: November 7th, 2005

Education: University of Belgrade [1953]

Biography

Jovan Soldatović was born in the small Srem village of Čerević in present-day Serbia in 1920 (then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia). One of five children, Soldatović came from a simple family of tradespeople, with his father being a shoemaker. He was interested in sculpture at a young age, after graduating from high school in Novi Sad and completing his Reserve Officer's training in Maribor, Slovenia, Soldatović started attending the University of Belgrade in 1940, studying architecture in the Faculty of Engineering. However, the war interrupts his studies and he returns to Novi Sad. As the war begins to take over the Serbian region in the spring of 1941, Soldatović joins the 17th Vinkovci Regiment, where he fought all across the Srem and parts of Bosnia. Even during the war, Soldatović was able to keep his focus on the arts, as he worked for a time General Staff of Vojvodina doing artistic work developing propaganda posters and leaflets.

Immediately after the war, Soldatović and his wife Milom Mrazović have their first child, Srđan, in 1946. Also during this time he goes back to the University of Belgrade, where he begins to study sculpture. After graduating, he begins to teach sculpture at a high school in Novi Sad in 1953. Just a few years later in 1955 Soldatović puts on his first solo sculpture exhibition in Novi Sad during the Salon 55 at the Youth Tribune, at which point he goes on to participate in a number of world sculpture exhibitions across Europe over the next few years. Then, in 1958, he works with several famous Yugoslav sculptors to organize sculptural works to be placed around the famous Tašmajdan Park in Belgrade. In the early 1960s, Soldatović wins a design competition for a memorial sculpture honoring the Novi Sad Raid in Žabalj, Serbia. This work, which he completed in 1962, was composed of three forboding bronze figures standing over he marshland. This work was so popular that it was reported on the frontpage of the Novi Sad Tribune. This memorial work cements Soldatović's reputation as a premiere creator of memorial sculpture and monumental art. The style that Soldatović executes his work in is decidedly figurative, but with a very surrealistic and imaginative approach that exaggerates and reduces aspects the human form to a degree in which they almost become abstract. In addition to figurative work, Soldatović completed a small number of concrete abstract works as well, such as the monument to the Novi Sad Raid at Titel, Serbia.

Over the following years, Soldatović creates numerous memorial sculptures honoring the events of WWII, predominately creating them in the Vojvodina region of Serbia. In 1971, he completes another memorial work commemorating the Novi Sad Raid, this time on the Danube waterfront in Novi Sad, which is titled "The Family". This moving and emotional peice of art garners Soldatović with even more acclaim, earning him a spot among some of the most notable and important sculptors in Yugoslavia. In 1979 he donates three smaller sculptural works to Šumarice Memorial Park in Kragujevac for installation around the museum which honors the 1941 massacre which occurred there. In the mid-1980s, Soldatović began working on a memorial solution for the Sremski Front battle ground. Finally opened in 1988, the Sremski Front Memorial consisted of a sunken circular red brick museum with an approach of red brick walls bearing the names of fallen soldiers from the front. While this work was most certainly the most grand and ambitious of his career, the creation of the work became controversial because the project was originally awarded to famous sculptor Dušan Džamonja, but that award was later rescinded and instead given to Soldatović.

In his late life, Soldatović continuted to work, even being so bold as to travel to his studio by boat during the NATO bombings of Novi Sad in 1999. Furthermore, his fame and recognition stretched even into his old age, with the President of the Assembly of Vojvodina even attending his 80th birthday celebration in 2001. Over his long five decade career, Soldatović created hundreds of sculptures and was recognized for his efforts with countless awards and accolades. Even in his final year, Soldatović continued to put on exhibitions for the public. Soldatović passed away in 2005 in Novi Sad and was buried at a cemetery in his hometown of Čerević. Also in Čerević a permanent museum exhibition of the life, career and sculptural works of Soldatović can be found at the Homeland Museum of Čerević.

Works by this Designer:

This is a listing of a number of memorials, monuments, cultural centers and other notable Yugoslav-era civic works by Jovan Soldatović. Those sites listed in the upper part of this section have profile pages, while those listed in the lower part do not yet have completed profile pages. This list is not exhaustive and will be added to over time.

Works with profile pages:

Click photos to go to page

Titel, SRB

Name: Monument to the Victims of Fascism

Year: completed 1974

Žabalj, SRB

Zabalj2.jpg

Name: "Crna Ćuprija" Memorial Complex

Year: completed 1962

Adaševci, SRB

Sremski Front.jpg

Name: Sremski Front Memorial

Year: completed 1988

Stejanovci, SRB

Name: The "Bridge of Exchange" Monument

Year: completed 1971

Works without profile pages:

Novi Sad, SRB

Name: "The Family" Mon. to the Novi Sad Raid

Year: completed 1971

Location: N45°15'07.9", E19°51'21.2"

Belgrade, SRB

Name: "Don Quixote" at Tašmajdan Park

Year: completed 1958

Location: N44°48'34.3", E20°28'14.7"

Čurug, SRB

Name: Memorial to 1942 Raid Victims

Year: completed 1970s?

Location: N45°31'05.5", E20°06'15.5"

Neštin, SRB

Name: Monument to the Victims of Fascism

Year: completed ???

Location: N45°13'41.2", E19°27'08.9"

Kragujevac, SRB

Name: "The Judges" Monument

Year: completed 1979

Location: N44°01'15.7", E20°53'41.2"

Novi Sad, SRB

Name: "Deer Fighting" at Petrovaradin Fortress

Year: completed 1965

Location: N45°15'05.6", E19°51'46.9"

Surduk, SRB

Name: The Lighthouse on the Danube

Year: completed 1961

Location: N45°04'20.2", E20°19'47.4"