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Ivan Gundulic

Ivan Gundulić (1589-1638) is the most celebrated Croatian Baroque poet from Dubrovnik. His work embodies central characteristics of Catholic counter-reformation: religious fervor, insistence on «vanity of this world» and zeal in opposition to «infidels». Gundulić's major works (epic poem «Osman», pastoral play «Dubravka» and religious poem «Tears of the prodigal son» (based on famous Biblical motif) are examples of Baroque stylistic richness and, frequently, rhetorical excess.

Judging from modern perspective, two approaches seem to dominate contemporary appraisal of Gundulić's poetry: one one hand, his poetic influence has dimmed due to the change of aesthetic sensibility (Gundulić's chief literary predecessor and influence, Torquato Tasso, has undergone similar reassessment, but his artistic integrity and individuality have withstood the test of time better); on the other hand, Gundulić's role in the final standardisation of Croatian language cannot be overemphasized.

Ironically, his magnum opus, «Osman» was not published in integral edition until 1844, when Croatian Illyrian movement took his oeuvre as exemplary idiom of Croatian literary language. One of the leading Illyrian men of letters, politician, linguist and poet Ivan Mažuranić, successfully completed Gundulić's «Osman», composing last two chapters which were left unfinished upon poet's death.

The picture of Ivan Gundulić appears on the 50 kuna banknote.

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