Images of the Nation Foreseen: Ivan Meštrović's Vidovdan Temple and Primordial Yugoslavism
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This article is an interdisciplinary study of the Vidovdan Temple (c. 1906-13), a sculptural-architectural whole that was Ivan Meštrović's most controversial and most widely interpreted work. I analyze visual culture and intellectual history to show how this particular artwork became highly instrumental in creating and strengthening Yugoslavism's primordialist dimension, which sharply marked the South Slavic territories’ political landscape in the decade preceding the first Yugoslav state's creation. Not only did Meštrović's artwork epitomize the idea of a South Slavic primeval unity, dismissing the national distinctiveness of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, it also enunciated an emphatic message of South Slavic political unification. By analyzing the Vidovdan Temple's contemporaneous critical reception, I question its classical interpretation as a symbol of Yugoslav multicultural synthesis, arguing for a more contextsensitive and nuanced understanding of the ideology of Yugoslavism.
Keywords:Ivan Meštrović / Yugoslavism / Yugoslavia / Ideology / Nationalism / South Slavs / Architecture / Art history
Source:Slavic Review, 2014, 73, 4, 828-858
- Cambridge University Press