Milić of Machva, born as Milić Stanković, is thought to be one of the most significant Serbian painters of the 20th century. And he is certainly the most famous son of Belotić, a village in the municipality of Bogatić in western Serbia.
Many great paintings, inspired by artists such as Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel and Salvador Dali, remain after Milić, but also a unique building – Radovan Tower, in his native Belotić, named after the painter’s father Radovan.
– The idea of the tower is old, it comes from my childhood dream of a Vertical, and to raise it just on the Gumno, at Radivoje Brest. It all began in 1962, when I walked with Dragan Penjin one winter afternoon in the fields of Machva, when we reached that place. I stabbed my mythical stick in the ground and said “here, it seems to me, that the tower should stand” – the artist later said.
Milić later explained the principle of building his towers: they are erect like people, in the lowest parts they have a dining room – a symbol of the stomach, then above the library and atelier – symbols of a person’s heart and emotions, and at the top of an observatory – a symbol of a person’s cognitive capabilities, that is, his head.
Construction of the tower began in 1968, and it was later visited by many notable artists of the time, including perhaps the greatest actor in Hollywood history, Kirk Douglas.
Milić, whose inspiration and frequent motifs in the paintings were flying logs, glowing balls and icebergs, built the tower thanks to his extensive knowledge of architecture, which he studied, but also richly applied in his work as a painter.
Machva, the part of Serbia in the center of which Bogatić and Belotić are located, where the tower is located, was a “holy place” for Milić, and he gave his paintings a role to testify about the sanctity of this place and to make it “never forget” about it.
In addition to the main tower building, there is a “barkroom”, in which, according to the artist’s idea, anyone can climb and “bark” or swear through openings directed on all four sides of the world. Through them, one can speak good or bad thoughts to the East, West, North or South, as they see fit.
This text is part of the project “Seven Wonders of Bogatic” co-financed by the Municipality of Bogatic.
(Come to Serbia)