Aesthetics Wiki

Zenitism (Serbo-Croatian: Zenitizam, Serbian Cyrillic: Зенитизам) was an Avant-garde art movement and philosophy in the former country of Yugoslavia, particularly centered in the cities of Zagreb (modern day Croatia) and Belgrade (modern day Serbia). It was closely associated with a Yugoslavian magazine called ZENIT[1] and it had a major presence in visual arts, graphic design, poetry, literature, theatre, film, architecture and music from 1921 to 1926.

The Zenitists rejected traditionalism and believed in the concept of an unified European culture, something beyond the common political division of the time ("East" and "West"), and sought to create an aesthetic that incorporated influence from both Western European and Eastern European culture. They drew inspiration from art movements like Cubism and German Expressionism, as well as elements of Balkan folklore and ancient Byzantine art. It especially shared various similiarities with Italian Futurism.


Zenitism was estabilished by Ljubomir Micić, a Serbian artist of Avant-garde Socialist ideology, during the aftermath of World War I, in June 1921, along with the "Zenitist Manifesto", which explained the general ideas, principles and philosophy of the aesthetic. The art movement had its own magazine called Zenit, based in Zagreb (1921-1924) and later in Belgrade (1924-1926), in which the Zenitist artists published their ideas and artworks. The magazine gained international traction, becoming one of the most revelant European art movements from the Balkan region. However, the art movement started to decline in 1926 after the Zenit magazine was ultimately censored by the Yugoslavian government. Although Zenitism was a relatively short-lived art movement, it had an important impact in Balkan art.


Some visuals prominent in Zenitism include:

  • Cities and urban buildings
  • Machinery
  • The Sun
  • Roads
  • Geometric shapes
  • Checkered patterns
  • Distorted human figures
  • Collages
  • Linocut prints


The artists of the Zenitist movement rejected traditional art forms as well as traditionalism as a whole in their artworks. They believed that art should be an innovative form of media and reflect and express the inner world of the artist, as well as rejecting Realism. Another main value of Zenitism was rejecting the concept of a politically divided Europe. The 1920s weren't easy times in what was considered the "east" of Europe, in the traditional political sense. After all, the country had just gone through the dread of World War I. Therefore, Zenitists believed that the political separation in blocks was untrue and unnecessary, and they sought to create an aesthetic that combined influence from both worlds. Zenitists were also against the concept of Military and believed in Humanism (the philosophy surrounding the value of human life). Zenitism as an art movement was founded by Ljubomir Micić and Branko Večerin, who published the first ZENIT magazine in 1921, until 1926, when it ultimately faced censorship. The magazine was used as a platform for Zenitist artists and writers to express their ideas and to promote their artworks. Zenitism also had a strong connection to Dadaism and Dada-related activities.



  • Ljubomir Micić
  • Aleksandar Vučo
  • Milan Rakić
  • Branko Ve Poljanski
  • Ljubomir Popović
  • Ivan Meštrović
  • Josif Seissel / Jo Klek