Nadezda Petrovic was born in Cacak in 1873. She finished high school in 1891 and after passing a license exam, became a teacher of drawing. She studied painting in Djordje Krstic's studio, at the Serbian Drawing and Painting School, founded by Kiril Kutlik in Belgrade in 1895.
In 1898, she moved to study with Slovenian painter and teacher Anton Azbe at his school in Munich. Petrovic had her first independent exhibition, with paintings made during her Munich period on display, in Belgrade in 1900. She continued her studies in the studio of plein-air painter Julius Exter, one of the founders of the Munich Secession.
Serbia's modern art pioneer, first woman photographer and art critic in the country, founder and inspirer of fine art and patriotic societies, Nadezda Petrovic also launched the first Yugoslav art colony.