Saturday, October 31, 2015

Serbian Google Doodle

Earlier this month, to honor what would be Nadežda Petrović’s 142nd Birthday, Google dedicated its doodle to her. When I first clicked on the image below and saw that Google chose to feature a highly acclaimed Serbian impressionist painter, I was thrilled until I learned that Google caters to its international market with country-specific doodles. Even so, I wouldn't have looked into her history or sought out the collection which contains most of her work if it weren't for this doodle, so I'm glad that Serbian Google shined its spotlight on her.

Here are some of her paintings I recently saw in a gallery in Novi Sad:

This gallery arranged its collection thematically based on the contents in the various pieces, whether they were paintings, sketches, or sculptures. The pieces ranged from the 18th to the mid-20th century. Perhaps this is a common practice, but I'm more familiar with a chronological sorting system, or one that organized its collection by artist. I enjoyed this set-up because it led me to draw connections across styles and time, and it provided the challenge of guessing the artist based on what I had previously seen. I only correctly placed a couple of paintings - one of which by Petrović - but it helped me to be less passive as I ambled through the gallery.

In addition to her art, Petrović was quite the humanitarian. She volunteered as a nurse during the Balkan Wars (of 1912-13, not to be confused with the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s) and WWI. As a nurse, she contracted both typhus and cholera and earned a Serbian Medal for Bravery, and Now her face grazes the 200 dinar (roughly $2) bill.

The doodles that didn't make the cut:

Note the patch on her shoulder -- she received an Order of the Red Cross!

I like that these three doodles illustrate her humanitarian work.

Google allows you to see where in the world each doodle is displayed. This one didn't get much coverage. Google knows better than to use the same doodle throughout the Balkans.

I was surprised to see that today's doodle, the interactive Global Candy Cup, showed up on (Republic of Serbia). This morning, when greeting a friend, I said, "Happy Halloween!" to which she replied, "No, that's an American thing." I saw a few people dressed up, mostly those in their twenties, but trick-or-treating, pumpkin-carving, and excessive sweets, those are American through and through.

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