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Original scientific paper

Dubrovnik on the Earliest Known Picture Depicting a Croatian Theatre Scene

Viktoria Franić Tomić ; Odjel za kroatistiku Filozofskog fakulteta u Splitu, Split, Hrvatska
Slobodan Prosperov Novak ; Odjel za kroatistiku Filozofskog fakulteta u Splitu, Split, Hrvatska

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page 213-242

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From the perspective of modern theatrology, the authors highlight a picture depicting a theatre scene midst an idealised city recognised as Renaissance Dubrovnik, included in one of the four graduals of the Ragusan Archbishop Graziani, today housed at the Communal Library of Bagnacavallo, near Ravenna. The picture most probably dates from the last years of the second decade of the sixteenth century or the end of Graziani’s archbishopric. The graduals in which Dubrovnik is more frequently mentioned were to serve as the commissioner’s reminder of this worthy Ragusan honour. However, Franciscan Mijo Brlek was the first to draw attention to the archbishop’s graduals in the 1950s, but failed to recognise the significance of the illumination for the history of European theatre. Set on an idealised Dubrovnik square, the theatre scene is the earliest picture of the kind that can be linked to Croatia. It is attributed to the Bolognese painter Francesco del Cavaletta or one of the masters from his circle. Given the representation, this picture resembles the famous depictions of ideal cities presented by the Croatian architect and painter Luciano Laurana and his followers for the Court of Urbino. In addition, a connection is established between this picture and the view of an empty city square incrusted in the wooden Renaissance choir stalls of the Zagreb Cathedral. The authors offer an exhaustive interpretation of the picture, accentuating its considerable contribution to the iconography of the Croatian Renaissance theatre. Emphasis is laid on the fact that the picture from Bagnacavallo depicts an idealised Dubrovnik, a city view with a detailed topos theatrum mundi.


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