Vladimir Simić

University of Belgrade

Faculty of Philosophy

Popular Piety and the Paper Icons of Zaharija Orfelin

Abstract: The paper deals with the phenomenon of popular piety in the eighteenth century and its reflections in art media through several prints made by the Serbian engraver Zaha- rija Orfelin. Paper icons, the cheapest means of meeting the spiritual needs of Orthodox Serbs in Hungary in the eighteenth century, were mass produced and easy to transport to remotest places. As they were the main channels of expressing piety, it is not unexpected that some artists-entrepreneurs such as Orfelin started such a lucrative production. Orfe- lin shaped the iconography of those images, combining the traditional Orthodox heritage and contemporary Baroque models that had migrated from Central European religious art. His imagery included particular national saints and their patriotic cults, dogmatic and doctrinal views of the church, as well as images of the Mother of God.

Keywords: Zaharija Orfelin (1726–1785), popular piety, paper icons, engravings, the Met- ropolitanate of Karlovci (Karlowitz), eighteenth century