Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Photo of the Day: Yugoslav Room, Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh PA

Previously, I posted about the Irish, Turkish, and African Heritage rooms in the Cathedral of Learning, on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. But I also felt the need to take this picture of another “Nationality Room” there, the Yugoslav Room, when I visited in October 2019.

This was hardly the best-lit of the rooms I saw that day, but it is a miniature jewel because of its combination of wood carving, weaving and lace making. I am sure that the Yugoslav immigrant community in Pittsburgh took special pride when the room was dedicated in March 1939.

Start with the chairs, which were carved by students at the International Art School in Zagreb. The director of that school, Vojta Branis, journeyed over to the U.S. twice during the room’s construction to supervise the work.

But take a look at the woodwork on the walls (paneled in Slavonian oak) and ceilings. Believe it or not, that was done back in what was then Yugoslavia, all with small pocket knives.

The two portraits above the blackboard depict Vuk Karadzic and Bishop Josip Strossmayer, who compiled the Serbian dictionary.

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