Category: Šibenik

Šibenik’s historic figures

Numerous artists who performed in Šibenik left a rich artistic opus behind them. Besides Juraj Dalmatinac and Nikola Firentinac (who was Dalmatinac's successor in the building of the Cathedral) numerous other constructors and sculptors should be noted: Andrija Aleši, Bonin from Milan; then painters – Juraj Čulinović, Andrija Medulić, Nikola Vladanov; scientists, writers, historians – Antun and Faust Vrančić, Juraj Šižgorić, Dinko Zavorović, Franjo Divinić, Ivan Tomko Mrnavić etc.; composers – Ivan Lukačić, Julije Skjavetić.

Antun Vrančić (1504 -1573)

was a Croatian humanist born in Šibenik where he was acquainted with the original humanistic education. After his studies finished in Padua, Vienna and Krakow he became a counsellor to the Hungarian King Ivan Zapolja, but in 1549 he passed to the side of the Habsburgs and serving the Croatian and Hungarian King, Ferdinand I, he carried out an excellent career as a diplomat. Vrančić is considered an important writer who wrote poems and travel books and other such things and his correspondence with Erasmus of Rotterdam, Nikola Zrinski and other famous people is considered of particular importance.

Ante Šupuk (1838 -1904)

was a Croatian inventor who, in 1895, created the first hydroelectric power plant in the world on the Krka River. Thus Šibenik became the third city in the world to have public lightning which used alternating current. Ante Šupuk was also known as the first mayor of the town, chosen by the people and it can be said that it was precisely he who saved the city from hardship (he introduced the Croatian language into schools, he built the railway, aqueduct and sewage system, he built the port, paved the streets and built the most modern hospital, etc.)

Dinko Zavorović (1540. – 1608.)

was the first Croatian modern historiographer. His principal works „Povijest Šibenika“(a History of Šibenik) and „Povijest Dalmacije“(a History of Dalmatia) in 8 books have never been published, but have remained in manuscript form.

Ivan Marko Lukačić (1584. - 1648.)

was the first composer in Šibenik to reflect the „ideals of composers from the new musical era, baroque, etc.“. He was famous in Europe too (famous motets).

Juraj Matvejev Dalmatinac

Juraj Dalmatinac (Juraj Matvejev Dalmatinac) or Giorgio Orsini (Zadar, from the beginning of the 15th century – Šibenik, 1473 - 75), Croatian and Italian sculptor and architect who deserves credit for having established the Šibenik Architectural School. He was the town’s greatest architect and sculptor in the 15th century and one of the greatest Renaissance craftsmen with regard to the older art of shaping human figures. He gave meaning to the most important Šibenik buildings. His architectural reputation in the 15th century can be seen through the fees he received for his work. While other architects would earn up to 62 ducats per year, Dalmatinac asked and received up to 120 ducats.

Faust Vrančić (Faustus Verantius)

Faust Vrančić (Šibenik 1551 – Mleci 1617) was a true Renaissance man: a humanist, Latin and Croatian writer, polyhistor, scientist, physicist, inventor, philologist and philosopher, one of the greatest Croatian minds of his time, and along with his uncle, Antun Vrančić, one of the greatest scientists and writers in the history of Šibenik. He received his initial humanist education in Požun (today’s Bratislava) with the help of his uncle Antun, then a famous church prelate and diplomat. He studied philosophy and law in Padua. From 1579 he was the commanding officer of Veszprem and from 1581 King Rudolf II’s counsellor in Prague. From 1594 to 1598 he lived in Dalmatia and in Italy, and his main interest was lexicology. The death of his wife was devastating for him, after which he joined the church and became the titular bishop of Csanad. He was loyal to Rome from 1605 although in 1615 whilst returning to Šibenik, his travel was ended following his death in Venice in 1617. He was buried in Prvić Luka.
Vrančić compiled the first larger dictionary of the Croatian language as part of a dictionary that contained the five most renowned European languages – Latin, Italian, German and Dalmatian (better known today as the Croatian language), as well as Hungarian.

Faust Vrančić showed special interest in physics and published all of his research in the Machinae novae (New Devices), a work that describes 56 different devices in five languages, constructions, of which the most famous is the suspension bridge and the parachute. Based on Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch, Vrančić created a detailed drawing of a parachute entitled Homo Volans and also constructed the earliest known version of the parachute, and it is written that he tested his work himself.

Juraj Šižgorić (1420 - 1509)

Juraj Šižgorić Šibenčanin is a central figure of Šibenik humanistic society of the 15th century and is one of the most prominent figures of the cultural history of the entire nation. He was born in Šibenik in 1420, into a noble family, and is one of the most famous ancient Croatian authors and poets.

His book of poems and elegies (Georgii Sisgorei Elegiarum et carmieurem libri tres, Venice 1477) was the first published book by a Croatian author. He died in 1509 and his tomb can be found in St. Jacobs Cathedral. The value of this book is, according to many historians, our most beautiful work and contains one of our oldest patriotic elegies from the middle ages – The “Elegy of the devastation of the Šibenik field.”

Nikola Tommaseo (1802 - 1874)

Nikola Tommaseo was born in Šibenik in 1802. After high school he attended law school in Padua. Italy completely won him over and so he dedicated his life to the Italian people building his literary opus into the Italian culture. He was one of the most powerful and notable Europeans of the 19th century. He was one of the greatest Italian authors of the 19th century, as well as the creator of the modern Italian language. His opus is very extensive consisting of over 200 works. He also wrote a famous work in the Croatian language called ISKRICE. The themes used in his works were taken from his hometown of Šibenik and from Dalmatia.

Sveti Nikola Tavelić

Nikola Tavelić, a descendant of the old Croatian noble Tavelić family, was born in Šibenik, a city on the Adriatic coast. He entered the Franciscan order in Bribir, the city of the famous Šubić dukes. In 1365 he became a priest and he subsequently became a missionary in Bosnia where he spent 12 years. After that he entered the mission in Palestine with Friar Deodato, Friar Petar from France and Friar Stefano Cunea from Italy.

In 1391 all four priests died a martyr’s death in Jerusalem. Throughout Europe and especially in Šibenik they were acclaimed as martyrs. In 1889, by request of Bishop J. Fosca from Šibenik, Pope Leo XII approved the worship of Nikola. He was declared a saint by Pope Paul VI, in Rome on 21.06.1970. It is important to emphasize that as a monk and a priest he succeeded in creating an ideal of Christian purity with his work, studies and prayer.

Visiani Robert (1800 - 1878)

Visiani Robert was born in Šibenik in the street that now carries his name. He was a well known natural science and botanical professor who established the first botanical garden in Europe at the University of Padua. His most famous scientific work is the “Flora Dalmatia”.