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The Painter with the Guitar: A Contribution to Marulić's Poetics

Split Literary Circle - Marulianum, centre for Studies on Marko Marulić and his Humanist Circle
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  • Literature
  • Musicology
  • Physics


07 Maroevis 92 Colloquia Maruliana XI (2002.) T o n k o M a r o e v i Ê THE PAINTER WITH THE GUITAR: A CONTRIBUTION TO MARULI∆’S POETICS Judith’s dedication is often quoted as a poetic programme. Justifiably so, since it explicitly expresses the poet’s attitude to tradition (domestic and classical) and his view of the function of ornatus as opposed to mere rendering of thematic layer. The History of Susanna adds to the poetic achievements of Judith as it pinpoints, in poetological terms, the original traits of MaruliÊ’s creative writing. Namely, in his second epic MaruliÊ presents his subject more freely, depending less on the biblical model than he did in Judith, and deliberately enriching the text with iconic and phonic values. It suffices to read a couple of characteristic lines from Susanna to understand the poet’s didactic orientation and his Christian humbleness in pledging his love to God, whom he supplicates to inspire his words with the desired meaning. At the same time, he neither underestimates nor neglects his own role. On the contrary, he likens his talk to the singing voice accompanied by the guitar (flsad kitara moja obarni glas k njoj« - fllet my guitar now turn its song to her«), while in another place compares the limitations of literary description with the impossibility of complete pictorial rendition of a given subject ( pentur na svit bil / toli hitre πkole sve spengat ki bi umil...« - fl... in the world there has not been a painter / who could paint so skilfully...«). Yet, by self-confidently appropriating certain competencies of the musician and the artist, he transcends the conceptual frame of the mere moralist writer. In a way (even synesthetic) MaruliÊ is flthe painter with the guitar«. In the light of this observation the author invites to an exciting investigation of MaruliÊ’s works, especially the opera minora, which will hopefully prove the prevalence of the visual and the acoustic in his oeuvre, also touching upon the question of the woodcut

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