Washington, May 9, 2007 - In cooperation with the National Library of Serbia and the European Division of the Library of Congress, Embassy of Serbia presented the exhibition “Radoslav’s Times: Two Radoslavs - Two Times". The exhibition, shown at the European reading room of the Library of Congress May 9 - June 30, 2007, presents two parallel stories telling about two epoques of life history in Serbia. The first story, depicting life in Medieval Serbia, is founded in the 15th century codex “Radoslav’s Gospel” as a record of personal history of a scribe Inok from Dalsa. The second story is inspired by a diary kept by a certain Radoslav, in the first part of the twentieth century, highlighting that period of Serbian history. The original diary was discovered by contemporary artist Aleksandar Zograf, who presented it to the public in the form of a comic strip.
Reprint of the Codex “Radoslav’s Gospel” was donated to the Library of Congress by the National Library of Serbia in 2006.
About the Codex “Radoslav’s Gospel”
There are few monuments of the old Serbian manuscript heritage, largely destroyed, that can even by their remnants so reliably testify of the value and beauty of the whole codex as the twelve preserved leafs of Radoslav’s gospel. These large-formatted leaves represent a part of the monumental handwritten four gospels, produced in Serbia at the end of the third decade of the XV century. Now they are guarded in the manuscript collection of the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg. They contain portraits of the evangelists, the beginning of John’s gospel and an extensive note of the copyist, which, besides its literary and documentary value, also provides some information about the creation of the book itself.
About the comic “Radoslav’s Times”
The original diary kept by a guy named Radoslav that lived in the first half of 20 century was discovered by contemporary artist Aleksandar Zograf, who presented it to the public in the form of a comic strip. Aleksandar Zograf is pseudonym of Saša Rakezić, a comic-book author born in 1963 in Pančevo. His independent comic books have been published worldwide. He cooperated with many authors, among which Robert Crumb and Jim Woodring should be mentioned. His affinities changed, but his style remained recognizable, placing him among those authors whose work can be defined as the auctorial underground comic.
From the exhibition catalogue:
Two artists and two masterly hands: Radoslav from Athos and Aleksandar from Pančevo.
Two chronicles: saved by a miracle. These are two spontaneous testimonies, by two hermits, about their lives and adventures, about two dedicated and hardy Serbs, about the fortunes and misfortunes carried by an individual life submerged in the matrix of historical forces and symbolical orders which prevail over real people in manifold ways. Both of them are professionally connected to books and letters, one as a monk, and the other as a typographer’s apprentice and later a typographer himself.
Two times: The first half of the fifteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. A duration, a span that invites thought.
Two states: The post-Kosovo Serbian despotism of Stefan Lazarević and the kingdom Yugoslavia under the Karađorđević dynasty.
Two great historical tragedies, with irreversible consequences: The death of the wonderful knight-statesman-poet Despot Stefan and the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia, Serbia, Belgrade.
Two copyists: The Inok from Dalša copies the four gospels, the Word of God. Aleksandar from Pančevo copies and illustrates Radoslav’s diary he found and bought for a pittance in the marketplace. The holy and the profane, the immortal and mortal cross ways...
Two autobiographies: Two lives full of changes, between despair and hope, perishing and survival, temptation and salvation. These two Serbs never give up. Five hundred years do not divide, but unite them. As if they were one effort, one achievement, one strength...
Radoslav’s gospel and Radoslav’s diary. Two Radoslavs. Two men of our nation. Two ways of one life.
Five hundred years of one country, one people, one culture, one Serbia.
(Sreten Ugričić, Director of the National Library of Serbia)