The fine art of Nadežda Petrović, our most important artist from the beginning of the century, introduces Serbian art in the courses of contemporary European art. Owing to her spirit which from small Serbia longed for modern world and thanks to favorable circumstances that she could go to school and visit fine art centers of Europe at the beginning of 20th century, her painting mostly kept up with European expressionism, impressionism, fovism and sometimes it was close to, still not famous, abstraction.
In her best works of art large areas dominate as well as her favourite bright reds and complementary green. A love for colours creates a coloration whirlpool where, apart from others, fovistic violet, blue and black are emphasized. Strong strokes of the brush, wide and thick paste applications sometimes change the canvas into a dynamic relief surface. She liked to paint portraits and landscapes, and her patriotism could be seen in a frequent choice of subject from the national history and in picturing people and regions of Serbia.
The work of Nadežda Petrović, on the whole, radiates passionate expression, strength and courage of this unique woman – painter from the Balkans. School education in Munich, visits to Paris and Italy and constant coming back to traditional Serbia left an impression on her canvases, so that her opus can be divided into several periods which have been defined by the experts of her work (PhD Katarina Ambrozić, the author of her monograph, PhD Stanislav Živković and others):
I Munich period (1893-1903)
-The first Munich period –studying in the school of Anton Ažbe, a Slovenian painter (A Bavarian, copies of old masters);
-The second Munich period –work in the studio of Julius Exter, one of the founders of Munich Secession (A Bavarian with a Hat, The Mill, Iberze, Pine Forest, Painting of a Nude from the back);
II Serbian period (1903-1910)
-The first Serbian period – after 1903 (A Tree Trunk in the Forest, Resnik –several studies, The Old Cemetery, Harvest, A Host, A Girl from Sićevo, Sićevo –several studies, A Player of the Gusle, A Monk);
-The second Serbian period –after Italy 1907 (Ships Down the Sava, A Woman with a Parasol, Andja, The Old Belgrade Cemetery);
III Parisian period (1910-1912)
(The Bridge over the Sienna, The Quay by the Sienna, Prince Marko and Miloš Obilić, Boulogne Forest, The Sea, A Beach in Brittany, Notre Dame de Paris)
IV War period (1912-1915)
(Downtown, The Old Fountain in Prizren, The Monastery of Gračanica –several studies, Kosovo Peonies –several studies, Dušan's Bridge, Ruins, The Hospital of Valjevo);