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Original scientific paper

The Palace of the Poet Marko Marulić in Split

Radoslav Bužančić orcid id ; Konzervatorski odjel Ministarstva kulture u Splitu

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In 1521, while he was writing his will, Marko Marulić lived together with his brother's widow Jelena, in a house within City borough of the Holy Spirit, which in its lower part had the taberna. This same document also mentions another house of the Marulić family which was situated next to the church of St John.
The precise position of Marulić's walls (muralea mea), which, as it is suggested in the translation, was a building site, and not a ruin, is determined in the text by the position of the baptistery. Marulić gives a precise position of his building site which was situated next to the church of St John, and next to the house in which lived his brother Aleksandar.
The fact that the wall was situated within the block of houses south of the baptistery is also confirmed by the Renaissance relief of the Marulić's coat of arms, which is still built into the wall of the eastern courtyard of the complex.
The triforium on the third floor of the western front façade of the block can serve for precise dating, because it belongs to the late Gothic expression from the first half of the 15th century according to its shape.
The western part of the complex is better preserved, and it has more stylistic elements of 15th century architecture, while the eastern part has a significantly more preserved Romanesque structure to the wall, and it was thoroughly repurposed in the 18th century, from which we can conclude that Marko was the owner of that exact part which, as he himself wrote, he did not have the time to renew.
The houses of the Marulić family next to the church of St John later belonged to the Grisogono family who renovated and merged them in the 18th century. The view on the back side of Mali hram (Small Temple) can be seen on the drawing made by Charles- Louis Clerisseau, in 1757.
The ubication of the second house from the will, the one in which Marulić wrote his will jacens in domo sua in ciuitate noua Sp(a)l(a)ti in the new part of the city, outside the walls of Diocletian's palace, brought about the finding of the panel with Marulić's coat of arms on it, in a dirt mound beneath the floor level of a Romanesque house in Bajamontijeva street number 5. This same house is mentioned in 1491, together with the house of the jewelers Petar Zakočević and Miha Unković, and the swordsmith Marin. The street in which the house was situated, was called "Jeweler Street".
The stone panel with the relief depiction of the coat of arms was originally situated on a lunette of the Gothic - Renaissance portal of Marulić's palace, which was on one of the houses of the complex close to the finding. The relief is in a simple shield depicting a lion with a raised paw in the upper section over symmetrical wings.
The finding of the relief with the Marulićs' coat of arms in the archaeological probing of the house in Bajamonti street number 5, opened up new possibilities for the ubication of the Marulić family palace. The position of the house can be closely determined within the complex in Split closed by Narodni trg, Bosanska street, Jewish passage, Dominisova street, Bajamontijeva street, and Ispod ure street. From the whole complex, only that Gothic - Renaissance palace kept some stylistic elements on its front façade, despite all later repurposing. On its first floor, there is a triforium from the 15th century which on the tips of the pointed window has decorations with lilies, which supports the early dating of the building, i.e. the very beginning of the 15th century, before Split became a part of the Venetian Republic. In the poet's biography, Božićević portrays Marulić's penitential life of a mystic and thinker - writer, and he refers to a life in a house which did not have to be some of Marulić family palace. The quote which indicates the position of the house from which through the doors of a tiny room, he would go to the temple dedicated to the famous Virgin Mary and St Doimus, disciple of Peter's, the first among the Apostles, and from the temple he would go back to his tiny room. The house was obviously close to the cathedral, so close that they could have been directly connected. On the north side of the cathedral there were the buildings of the Archdiocese, therefore if Marulić indeed lived in some of the houses nearby, it was most probably situated on the south side of the cathedral.
On the south side of the cathedral, there was a building belonging to the Illyrian Academy founded in Split in 1703. The building was bought from the Fraternity of the Holy Spirit, by Ivan Marchi and his brothers. The question is why Marchi's people bought just that unsightly house of a Fraternity for establishing the Illyrian Academy.
They had enormous respect for Marulić's work. Did that, as Božićević wrote, drive them to try to find the place where Marulić lived? Did they know something more about Marulić's tiny room close to the cathedral, the room which was mentioned in the poet's biography? The cult of Marulić at the beginning of the 18th century was certainly larger than during the time of Hektorović, who, in the poet's honor, takes a fantastic journey to his residence in Nečujam, on the island of Šolta.


Marko Marulić; coat of arms; Split; palace

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