Ivan Gundulić

The great Croatian Baroque writer Ivan Gundulić was born on January 8, 1589 in the Republic of Dubrovnik as the eldest son of Fran Gundulić and Dživa Gradić, famous Dubrovnik aristocrats. As a member of the aristocracy, he received excellent education in Dubrovnik. Some of his professors were the Italian writer Camillo Camilli and the translator and poet in Latin - the priest Petar Palikuća. After graduating, he stayed in Dubrovnik and spent his entire life there. He lived quietly and very secluded, which is why he acquired the nickname Mačica, which was inherited by his sons. Deeply preoccupied with the future of his city, he was very involved in its operations and administration. Already at the age of 19, in 1608 he became a member of the Grand Council of the Republic of Dubrovnik, which governs the city, and in 1634 he was elected a member of the Council of Petitioners - the Senate as one of the 33 most prominent Dubrovnik nobles. During his life he was twice elected prince in Konavle, and in 1638 a member of the Small Council, but he did not experience that because he died in the same year at the age of 49. Since the princes of Dubrovnik had to be more than 50 years old, he never became one.

In his youth, he wrote songs and melodramas whose names we know because he himself listed them in the preface to his first published work, “Pjesnima pokornima kralja Davida”: “Galatea”, “Dijana”, “Armida”, “Posvetilište ljuveno”, “Prozerpina ugrabljena od Plutona”, “Čerera”, “Kleopatra”, “Arijadna”, “Adon”, “Koraljka od šira”. Of these, only “Arijadna”, “Prozerpina ugrabljena”, “Dijana” and “Armida” have survived. He was a deeply religious man, which can be seen in his works. Gundulić's most significant works should certainly include the religious poem Tears of a Prodigal Son and the pastoral drama Dubravka. The culmination of his work, sung in 20 songs, is the chivalrous-heroic epic Osman about the death of the young Sultan Osman.

Already during his life, he became a poetic role model with his style and literary work. In the Renaissance, he received the status of a canonical writer, and today he represents a classic of Croatian literature.

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