The city of poets, writers and scientists
Many forms of artistic expression flourished during the long and rich history
of Dubrovnik. The Dubrovnik literature experienced its renaissance "rebirth" in the 15th and 16th century, when many immortal works of literature were created. Emerging from life in Dubrovnik
and created to amuse, provoke, cry and laugh, Dubrovnik literature developed from the people. The Dubrovnik Rectors, regarded as the best-educated citizens of Dubrovnik of that time (Dinko Ranjina, Dominiko Zlatarić, Ivan Gundulić and others), created immortal poems about their beloved city of Dubrovnik.
, the greatest Croatian 17th century writer, predicted the downfall of the great Turkish Empire in his great poem Osman. As freedom was regarded as the greatest value to Dubrovnik, he wrote these immortal verses that are performed till today on every opening of the world famous Dubrovnik Summer Festival
" O you beautiful, o you dear, o you sweet freedom… all the silver, all the gold, all human lives, can not pay for your pure beauty…".
Many other poets and writers, among them Marin Držić and Ivo Vojnović created numerous works about the glory and everyday life of Dubrovnik. Their literature still lives and is very relevant even today. Don't miss to experience the plays; many of them are performed during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
Other famous citizens of Dubrovnik include the painter Vlaho Bukovac, the mathematician and astronomer Marin Getaldić, the composer and author of the Croatian first symphony Luka Sorkočević and the scientist Ruđer Bošković.
More about all of these great artists and scientists:
Dubrovnik Painting School
Through centuries Dubrovnik was the cradle of many famous painters. Little of the riches, created in both the famous and unknown paint shops, beginning with the frescos in the pre-romanic churches in the 11th and 12th century, to the greatest pieces of art by Ivan Ugrinović, Blaž Jurijev, Lovro and Vicko Dobričević, Nikola Božidarević and Mihailo Hamzić in the 15th and 16th century, is preserved. Many great works of art disappeared or were plundered during the centuries in fires, earthquakes and other disasters. From the remaining works it is obvious that Dubrovnik had great
painters, artists with immense talent and skill that rightfully established them in the painting history of Europe under the name of The Dubrovnik Painting School.
The most recognized representatives of the Dubrovnik Painting School were Lovro Dobričević and his son Vicko Dobričević (Vicko Lovrin), Nikola Božidarević (the son of the painter Božidar Vlatković) and Mihajlo Hamzić.
From Lovro Dobričević,
15th century, three works are preserved: the Poliptih in the Dominican
Monastery, Poliptih in the St. Mary church on Danče and parts of
the Poliptih (St. Blaise portrait) in the Franciscan monastery,
all in Dubrovnik.
From Blaž Jurjev Trogiranin,
15th century, there is the painting of Madonna in the St. Durđa
church on Boninovo and a painted crucifixion in the Franciscan monastery
From Ivan Ugrinović,
15th century, only the Poliptih in St. Antun church on island Koločep
From Vicko Dobričević,
16th century, only the Poliptih in the Franciscan monastery in Cavtat
From Mihajlo Hamzić,
16th century, who was educated by Andrea Mantegne in Italy, only
two pieces of art are preserved; The baptism of Christ in Rectors
Palace and the Triptih Lukarević
in the Dominican monastery in Dubrovnik.
From Nikola Božidarević,
regarded by many as the greatest talent among these painters, only
four pieces of art are preserved; the Triptih Bundić, the paintings
Navještenje and Sacra conversacione ( all three located in the Dominican
monastery), and the Poliptih in St. Mary church on Danče, his last
and, by many, most beautiful work. (Danče is the name for a small
part of Dubrovnik located just outside the city walls where the
church is located)
The sudden death of these painters, that happened
from 1517 till 1520 marks the drastic end of a great era of the
Dubrovnik painting school, an era that enriched the cultural heritage
of the world.
Dubrovnik, as one the centers of art on the Mediterranean,
had already in the 14th century many foreign masters working in
it, mainly from Italy. They were all invited by the government of
Dubrovnik to paint on the churches and other monuments in Dubrovnik.
More paintings and other pieces of art can be seen under monuments.
The naval power of Dubrovnik
The history of Dubrovnik is directly connected with
the history of its navy. The Dubrovnik Republic and its government
managed to use its closeness to the Sea in the best possible way,
ensuring growth and freedom during centuries. Without its naval
power, Dubrovnik would probably have never become one of the most
important cultural and merchant centers on the Mediterranean, especially
from the 16th to 18th century.
beginning of the Dubrovnik navy can be traced back to the 9th century
and it reached its highlights between 1580 and 1600. In that time
Dubrovnik merchant navy had more than 200 ships that sailed all
the seas. Numerous documents testify about the merchant industry
in Dubrovnik, since the laws of the Dubrovnik Republic required
that every ship had to have a writer. That way, all information's
were archived, showing ownership contracts, names of the captains,
information's about the ports etc. The diplomacy skills of the Dubrovnik
Republic are unique in the naval world history. Business was conducted
under very favorable conditions with numerous countries along the
Mediterranean, turning even enemies into trading partners.
greatest rival in those times was Venice, as Dubrovnik stood in
its way for the complete domination on the Mediterranean. From open
conflicts to the recognition of the sovereignty of Venice over Dubrovnik
that lasted for 150 years (13th - 14th century), Venice remained
a threat for the prosperity and freedom of the Dubrovnik Republic.
All efforts were directed towards using all available means to protect
and defend the Republic from Venice. Even during its complete financial
breakdown due to the Great earthquake in 1667, ruined and devastated,
the diplomacy skill of the Dubrovnik Republic managed to prevent
Venice from conquering Dubrovnik.
The Venetian fleet approached Dubrovnik under the excuse that they
only wanted to help, but in reality just waiting for a chance to
enter and conquer Dubrovnik.
Records say that the Dubrovnik citizen Nikolica
Bunić managed to prevent the Venetian, sending their ships back
with help of only diplomacy. The tale tells that, when the Venetian
fleet arrived outside Dubrovnik at the 17th April 1667, a Dubrovnik
ship crossed their way, stopping them. On that ship there was the
representative of the Republic Niolica Bunić, the only survived
senator after the big earthquake. Bunić stepped on deck of the Venetian
commander's vessel and gave him the following greeting:" In the
name of the Rector and the Dubrovnik Republic Senate", even if in
that moment Dubrovnik did not have either a Rector or a Senate.
Assured of an easy conquer, the Venetian commander Cornaro cordially
accepted the representative of Dubrovnik. But his surprise was great
when, while expecting words of surrender, he was meet by :" Welcome
to the water of the Republic". The astonished commander Cornaro
could not do much but to continue in the same style :
" the Duke has
send me to offer help and assistance against the Turkish army and
Bunić thanked the commander with the remark:" the
government of Dubrovnik has enough power to prevent any attempt
of foreign intrusion and, regarding the help connected with the
earthquake, the republic has already taken all necessary measures,
but many thanks to the Duke of Venice for his concern..."
less determined and skilled was Marojica Kaboga under the negotiations
with the Turkish Pasha who also approached Dubrovnik to, as he sad
:" conquer Dubrovnik before the
Venetian". The hard negotiations and suggestive
persuasions, under whom this young man showed his great talent,
took long time before the Turks finally withdrew their forces.
With this the danger for Dubrovnik's well-being was not over.
Soon after, threatening to conquer Dubrovnik, a ransom of 150 000
ducats was demanded by the Turkish Pasha. A delegation team, led
by the experienced Nikolica Bunić, was send to the negotiations.
According to a protocol that is preserved in the archive of Dubrovnik
he was, prior of departing, instructed the following:
" Promise nothing.
You can not give anythin". You must stay against everything.
Your Republic looks to you. Maybe you will die, but it will be a
honourfull death, and your country will remain free".
The fact is that Bunić, after several months of
negotiations, indeed did die in the Turkish prison. Dubrovnik paid
nothing and remained free.
Around 1800 the Dubrovnik Republic had a highly organized
network of consulates and consular offices in more than eighty cities
and ports around the world. In 1880 Dubrovnik acquired its first
steam ship and from that time a new era of Dubrovnik shipping begun.