3 November – 13 December 2020

Vladan Đorđević (1844-1930) is one of the foremost figures of cultural, scientific and political life in the Serbia of 19th century. An educated physician, he was the first Serbian specialist in surgery. Đorđević made significant achievements in the field of health and medicine, however, as a member of the generation of Romantics, he considered the cultural enlightenment of Serbia his duty to his homeland.

He was the first Serbian physician who took an interest in the medical experimental work, initiated the establishment of the Serbian Medical Society (1872) and the Serbian Red Cross (1876), founded and edited the first Serbian professional medical journal and he was the first historian of the Serbian medicine. Being a military physician, he was the chief medical officer of the Health Service of the Serbian Army Supreme Command in the wars (1877/78 and 1885/86), as well as the first hygiene professor at the Artillery School (precursor of the Military Academy), later becoming the head and reformer of civil health service (1879-1884) and the creator of the first systematic laws on health (1879, 1881). As a mayor of Belgrade, he launched the municipal design of the capital and founded the New Cemetery.

He was active in the political life of Serbia from the late 1870s, initially as a government commissioner and MP in the National Assembly, and then as a minister of education and church affairs, deputy minister of the national economy (1888 – 1889), royal envoy to Athens (1891 – 1894) and Constantinople (1894 – 1897) and prime minister (1897 – 1900).

In the literary field, which he entered in his 14th year, he left numerous works – short stories, dramas, novels and memoirs. He was one of the founders of rural and travel novels, a playwright, chronicler and historiographer.  The bibliography of Đorđević’s works includes 500 works. His journal ‘Otadžbina’ [Homeland] was the best journal of literature, science and culture in the second half of the 19th century.

At the age of 25, he was elected a full member of the Serbian Literary Society (1869), and in 1892 a full member of the Serbian Royal Academy. He lived his life by the personal motto which was Laboremus! (We work!).

The goal of the exhibition the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts is organizing within the popular campaign ‘The Year of Academician Vladan Đorđević’, is to introduce the extraordinary personality of Vladan Đorđević, a persistent creator and patriot, to the general public through documents, manuscripts, correspondence, artworks and photographs.