Tombstones and contemporary art

Artists today recognize tombstones stećci as an endless fountain of inspiration, shaping an extraordinary artistic expression through it.

Ever since the first magnificent appearing of tombstone stećci on a domestic and world stage at the great world medieval art exhibition of Yugoslavia in Paris 1950, they inspired creating many pieces of art. Today tombstones stećci represent an endless source of inspiration for artists, who shape an extraordinary artistic expressions under their strong influence.

The artworks inspired by the stećak tombstones are in some cases so powerful that to an average beholder they might seem as an authentic, original expression of the tombstone itself. The key to better understanding is to know that these artworks were created long after the tombstones stećci themselves are and do not represent historical fact established on a scientific basis.

Today, we can find illustrations of the tombstone stećci on the textbooks, money, literal awards are being named after them. We can certainly state that tombstones stećci largely influence shape of a present-day reality.

Mak Mehmedalija Dizdar

Tombstones stećci highly influenced the work of one of most famous poets of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mehmedalija Mak Dizdar. Born in Stolac, surrounded by numerous necropolis, very soon he stepped into Hum and Bosnian world of marble.

Fascinated by the magnificent Radmilja, he writes Kameni spavač that gets its first publication in 1966. This work symbolizes presumably the most important poetry collection in Bosnian literature.

A poet's inspiration

Poetry written in a form of epitaph took very important place in Nenad Tanović poetry collection Stećci – oblici bosanskih duša (Tombstones – shape of Bosnian soul), first published in 1995. Even though his poems do not hold the artistic quality and character of Dizdar, they are written in their very own unique way.

These are in fact not real songs nor verses, but rather tombstone stećci inspired epitaphs. Many more poets found inspiration in stećci tombstone, such as Petar Gudelj, Janko Bubalo, Ivan Kordić, Kemal Mahmutefendić and many more.

Stećak Tombstones in the Visual Arts

The art of sculpture is also highly influenced by tombstone stećci . Adis Fejzić is the first Bosnian sculptor with the title Doctor of Philosophy. His scientific research engaged in tombstones stećci artistic analysis in the context of contemporary socio-anthropological atmosphere, while placing stećak tombstone as a personal metaphor and modern artistic expression. Many galleries in Australia, where Adis Fejzic got awarded with PhD degree, exhibit his work.

One of his sculptures that actually represent modern interpretation of tombstone stećak named B&Hierophany@terraAvstralis.MMXIII . It is placed as a permanent exhibit outside Australian Parliament house in Canberra.

The special place among artistic Photography dedicated to tombstones stećci is taken by the famous Croatian photographer Tošo Dabac. He crossed entire Bosnian land, making thousands of artistic and documentary photographs of tombstones stećci . Heritage left by Dabac is now part of Tošo Dabac Archive, as part of Zagreb Museum of contemporary art and certainly represents the largest and the most complete photo document of the tombstone stećci .