Paja Jovanović (Paul Joanovitch) was a renowned Serbian painter, exponent of academic realism. He was born in Vrsac in 1859. He learned painting skills in Vienna Academy of Art and spent most of his life between Belgrade and Vienna. Jovanović was renowned portrait painter, amongst numerous portraits he made were portraits of Austrian emperor Franz Joseph, Montenegrin king Nikola, Aleksandar Karadjordjevic and president of Yugoslavia Tito. He also painted genre scenes with national motifs and large historical compositions with themes from national history. He is probably the most famous Serbian artist of international significance, and his works are frequently being sold in auctions worldwide.
Paja Jovanović visited Macedonia in several occasions. During his study years when he was student at the Vienna Art Academy (1877-1880), he spent his summers in Montenegro, South Serbia, Kosovo and North-West Macedonia where he made numerous drawings of daily life of the people. During 1912 and 1913 Paja Jovanović traveled with the Serbian Army as war photographer and painter. In this period, he produced many drawings, sketches and photographs, for example: “Street in Skopje”, “Transfer of wounded in Kumanovo”, “Field Hospital in Kumanovo” etc. In October 1912 after the famous Battle for Kumanovo, Jovanovic came to Skopje to prepare himself for the composition “Kumanovo for Kosovo” or “Kosovo fairy”. On this occasion, he became friend with the famous Serbian fighter Milutin Milankovitch. It is also worth mentioning that in Macedonia, Jovanović collaborated with the famous Serbian impressionist Nadezda Petrović.