Dinko Davidov was born in Sivac (Bačka, Serbia) in 1930. He spent his childhood and elementary-school years in the nearby village of Stapar. He attended grammar school and the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade where he graduated from the Art History Department. He earned a PhD degree at the Faculty of Philosophy in Ljubljana (Slovenia).
From 1965 to 1978, he worked as a curator at the Matica Srpska Gallery in Novi Sad. From 1979, he was employed as a scientific adviser at the Institute for Balkan Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In 2000, he was elected a corresponding member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and became its regular member in 2006. From 2001 to 2009, he was director of the Academy’s Gallery.
During his work at the Matica Srpska Gallery, Davidov explored Serbian art from the 17th to 19th centuries, notably churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Eparchies of Buda and Timisoara. He prepared the following exhibitions: Icons of Serbian Churches in Hungary (presented at the Matica Srpska Gallery), Icons of Serbian Zografs of the 18th Century (presented in the Gallery of the Serbian Sciences and Arts), Old Serbian Graphics (presented in Zagreb and in an extended form in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg). Davidov also wrote the book titled Ikone srpskih crkava u Mađarskoj (Icons of Serbian Churches in Hungary), describing the hitherto unknown 190 icons of the 17th and 19th centuries, kept at the Museum of the Eparchy of Buda in Szentendre and village and town churches.
In addition to the iconography of Serbian zografs of the 18th century, Davidov also explored Serbian graphics, particularly of the 18th century. His seminal work in this field is Srpska grafika VIII veka (Serbian Graphics of the 18th Century), published in 1978 by Matica Srpska. He also recorded and collected copperplates, which were compiled into the corpus titled Serbian Copperplates of the 18th Century – Chalcographic Imprints from Authentic Artists’ Plates. Matica Srpska published the corpus in a limited print run of 35 sets. A special, accompanying publication with a catalogue was published in Serbian and German, titled – Serbische Kupferstiche des 18 Jahrhunderts.
Davidov was ardent supporter of the restoration of Fruška gora monasteries which suffered large-scale destruction by the Croatian Ustaša in the Second World War. He held many lectures on this topic, wrote articles and scenarios for documentaries which were censored. He published the book Ogrešenja (Transgressions), containing documentary records about the Ustaša destruction of Fruška gora monasteries.
At the Institute for Balkan Studies, Davidov led the project Common and Specific in Artistic Expression of the Balkan Peoples from the 17th to 19th Century. At the Institute, he organised three conferences and edited the conference proceedings: Serbian Graphics of the 18th Century (1986), Monastery Šišatovac (1989) and Post-Byzantine Art in the Balkans (2003). He regularly published studies on Serbian art culture of the 18th century in the yearbook Balcanica. In the jubilee year of the Great Migration of Serbs (1690–1990), he published a voluminous book Spomenici Budimske Eparhije (Monuments of the Buda Eparchy).
During his directorship, the Gallery of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts mounted forty exhibitions with accompanying catalogues, of which Davidov edited twenty four. He authored the exhibition Graphics of the Holy Mountain and the catalogue, as well as the exhibition Valuables of the Metropolitanate of Karlovci. He edited Sentandrejski zbornik SANU (Szentendre Collection of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts).
His other books include: Znamenja seoba (Omens of Migrations), Parusija (Parousia), Studije o srpskoj umetnosti XVIII veka (Studies on Serbian Art of the 18th Century), Srbi i Jerusalim (Serbs and Jerusalem), Gornja zemlja (Upper Land), Sentandreja srpske povesnice (Szentendre of Serbian History), Totalni genocid – Nezavisna Država Hrvatska (Serbian edition) and Independent State of Croatia – Total Genocide, 1941–1945 (English edition).
Davidov’s bibliography contains more than 200 entries.