The representation of women in Serbian painting during the first half of the 20th century is integrated into the criteria or symptoms of social reality. The real role and status of women in the society is shaped by standards of public morality; they are excluded from all major happenings. The policy of representation is defined through the picture of social stereotypes about male and female interests, objects, rules of behavior, professions and rituals. The places in which women are represented strongly emphasize isolation and preoccupation with “desirable activities.” Like personal records, these works of art describe the atmosphere without questioning it. A critical stance is replaced by a melancholic and meditative attitude and an obvious ambivalent experience of reality. These scenes are not shaped, or at least not exclusively, by the look of the creator, but primarily the social framework and its characteristic gender policy of viewing. Their marked unpretentiousness makes them a sort of chronicle of the epoch.
Simona Čupić is Professor at the Department of Art History, University of Belgrade, Serbia. Her fields of research and teaching include modern art in the U.S. and Europe, with a focus on art and popular culture. She is the author of Bourgeois Modernism and Popular Culture: Episodes of the Fashionable, Faddish and Modern (1918-1941) (2011), and Themes and Ideas of Modernity: Serbian Painting 1900-1941 (2008), among others. Simona Čupić is a visiting scholar at the Art History Department, UC Berkeley (2018-19). She was previously a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley in 2012-13. She is executive editor of the Journal of the Modern Art History Department (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade). Simona Čupić ‘s research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Sasakawa Tokyo Foundation, and Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development (RS). She has won two awards from the Association of Historians of Serbian Art for the best Exhibition (2008 and 2011).