The Croatian literature had a fragmented character before the 19th century, which corresponded to the country’s division between several ruling powers. The literary upswing was regionally and temporally delineated, and as a literary language, local variants of all the three main dialects of Serbo-Croatian were used.
The first upturn was the northern coastal country. There, written activity had already taken place in the Kyrgyzstan in the 900’s, of which the Croats also became involved, and a strongly approached form of the Kyrgyzstan became a medieval writing language of the Croats, used both in the Catholic church and for worldly purposes. Remarkably, the Croats in this area alone among the Slavic peoples continued to use the oldest Kyrgyzstan so-called Glagolitic alphabet, albeit from the 13th century in competition with the Latin. The literature was not a minor part of translations for church use from Latin and Italian. But the Croats also got their Troja saga and Alexander novel. Mention can also be made of church dramas and beginning verse poetry following Italian models.
- Countryaah: Population and demographics of Croatia, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.
A high standard literary culture was developed in the 16th and 16th centuries in the Dalmatian coastal country of Venice, with the city of Dubrovnik as its center. The dialect was in Dubrovnik štokavisk, in the rest of Dalmatia čakavisk. The role models were Italian, and poetry as well as drama and prose were represented. The most prominent poets, Marko Marulić from Split, Marin Držić from Dubrovnik and Petar Hektorović from the island of Hvar, in the 16th century in the Renaissance signs and Ivan Gundulić from Dubrovnik in the 17th century in the Baroque, the patterns were transformed into national Slavic poems of high formal class and often related to the current social and political reality.
The regional divide appeared with great clarity in the 17th and 18th centuries. Outside Dubrovnik, the Baroque was also represented by the northeastern Kajkavian hinterland, through poets such as Petar Zrinski and Fran Krsto Frankopan. A seventeenth-century writer by himself was the Catholic priest Juraj Križanić, who, through his works written in Russia in his own Slavic mixed-language language, appears as one of the fathers of Pan-Slavism. The Enlightenment got prominent representatives in the Franciscan monk Andrija Kačić Miošić from Dalmatia in the 18th century with his for the people written in verse and prose, still popular South Slavic hero dates and in Antun Matija Reljković of Slavonia, who wrote didactic verse. In Zagreb, Tito Brezovački wrote about 1800 kayakavian dramas for amateur troops.
Only through the so-called Illyrian movement in the 1830’s and 40’s did the Croats gain a unifying center and a unified literary language. The ambitions inspired by the illusions of romance and pan-Slavic ideas were to unite all the South Slavs into a nation with a culture. In line with this, they joined Vuk’s Serbian innovation and built the written language on the Štokavian basis. Admittedly, neither Serbs nor Slovenes were included, but for the Croatians’ own cultural and political liberation, the significance of the Illyrian movement can hardly be overstated. Press, theater and other cultural institutions arose, and the foundation was laid for modern literature based on European models. The ideologue of the movement was Ljudevit Gaj. On his side were significant poets such as Petar Preradović, Ivan Mažuranić and Stanko Vraz.
The end of the 1848 revolution meant a stinging defeat for Illyrianism, and during the subsequent Habsburg absolutism the literature suffered from paralysis. A new start first followed in the 1870’s with August Šenoa, who among other things. in historical novels linked to the Croatian freedom aspirations. Through his demands for greater closeness to reality, he paved the way for the socially engaged realistic prose that, after Russian and French designs, dominated the last three decades of the 19th century. Ante Kovačić, Ksaver Šandor Đalski and Josip Kozarac can be mentioned as representatives. A great thinker during this stage was Silvije Strahimir Kranjčević.
The period from the end of the 19th century to the First World War is called “the modern”. The ideologue of modernism was Antun Gustav Matoš and the leading symbolist poet Vladimir Vidrić. To the past in history, legends and myths, Vladimir Nazor sought in poetry and prose and Ivo Vojnović in prose and drama. A dominant figure in Croatian cultural life was from the debut in 1914 until his death in 1981 Miroslav Krleža. His versatile authorship, which formed into continuous social criticism, had its main focus during the interwar period in New Yugoslavia. Avant-garde approaches and social and national commitment characterize this stage, where the strong position of poetry must be emphasized with Tin Ujević as a poet of European rank and with figures such as Antun Branko Šimić, Gustav Krklec and Dobriša Cesarić by his side.
Those who, after 1945, wrote well-known depictions of the party war, include Vjekoslav Kaleb. As well as Petar Šegedin, Ranko Marinković and Mirko Božić, he was also one of those who, during the post-war period, transformed the Croatian prose into more complex narrative instruments in internationally renowned works. In poetry, Jure Kaštelan, Vesna Parun and Slavko Mihalić took the corresponding position. Within the play are works by Ranko Marinković and Marijan Matković.
After independence, journalist Slavenka Drakulić portrayed life in the Balkan Peninsula during war and repression in books such as “Balkan Express” (1993), “How We Succeeded to Survive Communism with a Smile on the Lips” (1992) and “Not a Fly Nourishes” (2004). Today’s novelists include Dubravka Ugrešić with works such as “Ministry of Pain” (2004) and “Baba Jaga laid an egg” (2008).
Drama and theater
The first stage in the history of the Croatian theater was church dramas in the Dalmatian coastal cities during the late Middle Ages. A rich church and worldly theater life was developed in the 16th and 16th centuries in Dalmatia with the city of Dubrovnik in the forefront. Comedies by Marin Držić from this era belong to the classic of Croatian drama literature. In the interior of Croatia, the theater was long predominantly German-speaking. Around 1800, Tito Brezovački wrote plays on the Kajkavian dialect for amateur troops in Zagreb.
Only with the Illyrian movement was the foundation of a modern Croatian theater culture established in the 1840’s. In 1861 the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb was opened. A first national romantic phase was followed by a radical modernization and Europeanization towards the end of the 19th century. On the domestic repertoire, dramas were marked by Ivo Vojnović around the turn of the 1900’s.
During the Yugoslav monarchy after 1918, several new city and regional theaters were added. Only slowly, however, did the theater reach out to less developed parts of the country. A dominant figure in the Croatian interwar drama was Miroslav Krleža.
Noteworthy have been the many festivals. The summer games in Dubrovnik were first organized in 1950, and in 2009 some 30 theater festivals were organized in the country. Dramatic actors in the 21st century include Tena Štivičić and Jasen Boko.
The first Croatian feature film was made in 1919, “Matija Gubec”, and during the Second World War the fascist Ustašar regime produced propaganda films. With the founding in 1946 of Jadran Film and Nastavni Film, followed in 1953 by the animation studio Zagreb Film, as an autonomous company but under the control of Belgrade, Croatia got a continuous film production.
Thematically dominant has long been the centrally-mandated so-called partisan film, heroic stories of the communist resistance movement during the Second World War. The first director’s name during the postwar period was Branko Bauer (1921–2002) with films such as “Ne okreći se sine” (1956) and “Licem u lice” (1963), in Sweden best known for children’s films such as “Five on the Thief Hunt” (1956). In the early 1960’s, however, Croatia was best known internationally as the location for a series of Western films about Winnetou in co-production between West Germany, Italy and Yugoslavia.
Among the names that made their mark in the field of feature films from the 1970’s are Rajko Grlić (born 1947) with “Bravo Maestro” (1978) and Lordan Zafranović (born 1944) with “Okupacija u 26 slika” (1978). Croatian-American film producer Branko Lustig (1932–2019), famous for “Schindler’s List” (1993) and “Gladiator” (2000), also began to become known during this period. Today’s feature film directors include Zrinko Ogresta (born 1958; “Tu”, 2003) and Ognjen Sviličić (born 1971; “Armin”, 2006).
Internationally, animation films have attracted the greatest attention with stylistic diversity and distinctiveness. The so-called Zagreb School’s foremost name includes founder Dušan Vukotić, Academy Award-winning 1961, Vlado Kristl (1923–2004) and Vatroslav Mimica (born 1923), who from the 1950’s became known for the most diversified and creative animation in Europe. Among the younger generation of talented animators are Joško Marušić (born 1952), Krešimir Zimonić (born 1956) and Zlatko Pavlinić (born 1944). “Professor Balthazar” (1967–77), created by Zlatko Grgić (1931–88)), is one of the most famous cartoon series from the Zagreb School that has reached a Swedish audience. Although it still produces animated film in Croatia, it has lost the international significance it once had.
Zagreb has been hosting an international animated film festival (Animafest) since 1972. Until 2005, it was held every other year, but now it is held every year, alternating with short films one year and feature films the other.
See also Yugoslav movie.
The earliest known Croatian visual arts are from around 800, when the country became Christian. Carved decoration adorns many churches along the Adriatic coast. The Romanesque style is represented by allegorical reliefs in Radovan’s portal in the Cathedral of Trogir (1240). The sculpture in Croatia appears for the first time in the 13th century at the construction of the cathedral in Zagreb and then lives on with its typical simple elements until the 16th century. The Gothic buildings are accompanied by elements with decorative sculpture. An important name is Jure Dalmatinac, who carved a wreath of 74 heads with distinctive appearance in the abyss of the cathedral which he himself created in Šibenik. During the 1400’s and 1500’s, significant murals were created, most abundantly on the peninsula of Istria. Significant frescoes can be found in the churches of Pazin, Butunga and Berm.
The Renaissance forms in the sculpture appear on the Adriatic coast around the turn of the century 1500. Dubrovnik’s painting school was represented by Mateja Janičić, Mihajlo Hamzić and Nikola Božidarević. The miniature artist Juraj Klović is also significant. In the northern part of Croatia, the renaissance takes place in a more limited way. Stronger impact, on the other hand, got baroque. During the 17th century Bernardo Bobić created prominent altarpieces. Significant names from the Croatian Baroque are also Tripo Kokelja and Federiko Benković. Portrait painter Vjekoslav Karas is a prominent name from the beginning of the 19th century. A special place in Croatian painting art in the late 19th century is occupied by Vlaho Bukovac with allegorical compositions and portraits. Other painters during this period were Celestin Medović, Bela Čikoš-Sesija and Slava Raškaj.
In the early 1900’s, the Croatian visual arts were characterized by the works of Josip Račić and Miroslav Kraljević. The sculptor Ivan Meštrović also became internationally known by giving powerful expression to the legends, poetry and history of the folk tradition. Significant sculptural works are associated with the names Toma Rosandić, Frane Kršinić and Autun Augustinčić. In the period leading up to the outbreak of World War II, many important works were added in both painting and sculpture. Marjan Detoni, Ante Motika, Vilin Svečnjak and Krsto Hegedušić. During the Second World War and the period thereafter, Vanja Raduš, Zlatko Prica and Edo Murtić for a convincing documentation of the time in drawings and graphics.
The photographer and sculptor Sanja Iveković has been seen as a pioneer in feminist art since the 1970’s and has continued to inspire many younger artists into the 2000’s.
Music in Croatia has been developed under the influence of three fields of power: the Mediterranean cultures in the west, Central Europe in the north and the Balkan peninsula in the south. A well-developed musical life originated in Dalmatia in the 11th century, under the influence of Venice. Around 1600, Split was an important music city; where worked Ivan Lukačić (ca 1587–1648) and Tomaso Cecchini (born ca 1583, died 1644).
In Dubrovnik in the 18th century Luka Sorkočević (1734–89) and his son Antun Sorkočević (1775–1841) wrote chamber and orchestral music, including a number of “Italian style” symphonies. In Zagreb, the Illyrian movement originated in the early 19th century, a national romantic movement inspired by Croatian folklore, including represented by Vatroslav Lisinski (1819–54), who wrote the first Croatian opera in 1846 and the prolific Ivan Zajc (1832–1914).
During the first half of the 20th century, national romantic and neoclassical styles dominated, often with strong elements of folk music (including Franjo Dugan (1874-1948), Jakov Gotovac (1895-1982), Stjepan Šulek (1914-86) and Krešimir Baranović (1894–1975) Music has expanded in all areas since the 1960’s, and in art music there are representatives of most modern international movements, including composers such as Bruno Bjelinski (1909–92) and Milko Kelemen (born 1924), and in younger generations Marko Ruždjuk (born 1946) and Frano Parać (born 1948).
The embryo for today’s music institutions is Musikverein, founded in Zagreb in 1827; from it arose 1870 opera ensemble and philharmonic orchestra, as well as a school for higher music education (from 1922 conservatory). Today, there are several permanent orchestras, musical dramatic theater, professional folklore ensembles, etc. and a vibrant musical life has emerged, with major festivals in Opatija, Split and Zagreb. The music biennial initiated by Kelemen in 1961 in Zagreb has gained significance across Europe, as has the summer festival in Dubrovnik.
Folk music has preserved features of old-fashioned Slavic music: small scale, short melody phrases, often with tabloid tone. In the north-eastern parts, the music is closely related to Hungarian, while along the coast, especially on Istria, Krk and Hvar, it shows relationships with forms in Italy and the eastern Mediterranean. A significant part is vocal music, in one or more voices, in several distinct genres and styles (treskavice, seljačko, na bass, ganga). Epic songs performed for solo playing on one-string lira, gusla, occur throughout much of the central Balkan peninsula, in Croatia especially in the Dinaric Alps.
In the past, sack pipes (gajde, mih, diple), shale maid, single and double whistles (frula, dvojnice) were the most common instruments, mostly played solo by men. During the 18th century, long neck tufts, tambure, were introduced through the Ottoman army.
In the 1840’s, a small ensemble of long neck gowns of various sizes emerged in Osijek, which quickly became very popular throughout Croatia (tamburica ensemble) and later gained the status of Croatian national symbol. From the beginning of the century, Tamburica ensembles also spread to southern slaves in the United States, where today some of the best bands appear. During the 20th century, violin and accordion spread widely, often playing in small bands with tamburica and flutes. Small wind orchestras are also widespread, especially popular along the Adriatic coast and in Međimurje.
In connection with the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the late 1980’s, a wave of interest arose in popular music and dance forms, from more authentic ones, such as the professional tambourica ensemble Zlatni Dukati to folk pop and folk rock. During the 1990’s, music influences strongly influenced Western Europe and the United States.
After World War II, popular music was cultivated with strong influences from the Italian canzone. During the 1960’s, astonishing, romantic songs performed a cappella in the male quartet, which gained great popularity, especially in Dalmatia.
Jazz and rock music was played in major cities from the late 1950’s, among others. by the Zagreb Modern Jazz Quartet, with the vibraphonist Boško Petrović (1935–2011). From the 1960’s, popular artists such as Ivo Robić (1923-2000) and Dunja Rajter (born 1946) also achieved success in Western Europe.
“New wave” (Novi election) in the late 1970’s, with bands like Azra and Haustor, gave new punk and rock music. During the 1990’s, folk rock (Vještice, Gustafi) and so-called turbo people gained great popularity, along with domestic versions of a number of globally distributed genres, such as hard rock, rap, house and techno.
The oldest folk dances are ring and chain dances (colo), linked to family and calendar rituals. They are led by a special leader (kolovođa), and are usually performed in two- or four-tempo, fast-paced ways, with vocals, sack pipes, violin and accordion or tambourica ensemble. During the 18th and 19th centuries, pair dances were spread throughout Croatia. Small, fast, shaking movements (šara) characterize many dances (drmš).
In the north and northwest the dance repertoire shows clear influences from central Europe and Italy, in the northeast there are couple and solo dances related to the Hungarian. Along the Dalmatian coast there are several special dances composed in suites (poskočica, linđo). Folk dance in organized form arose during the 19th century, during the national so-called Illyrian movement.
During the national development of the 20th century, folk dance played a major role, in the 1920’s and 1930’s through the Croatian peasant party’s cultural organization, Seljačka Sloga, and the Zagreb Folklore Festival (started in 1935), and after the Second World War through a large number of folk dance groups of amateurs and professionals (among others)..a Lado, Linđo and Joža Vlahovič) with scenic folk dance (folklore) on the program. The style developed by these groups has influenced the popular dance in Croatia and has also influenced folk dance groups in a number of other countries. During the 1980’s, a new interest in popular dance forms arose, culminating in the years following the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Popular at the same time also became a variety of dances for pop and rock music following Western European and American role models.
Ballet came to Zagreb in the 1890’s and developed in close interaction with folk dance. The Russian ballerina and choreographer Margarita Froman, who created several well-known ballets from the 1920’s, was of great importance for the dance. the famous “Licitarsko srce” (1924), for music by Krešimir Baranović.
Distinguishing a Croatian folk culture from the Sami Slavic cultural unit is difficult, since the South Slavic people mix with each other in their residence, while all South Slavs have a common cultural heritage. The main cultural factors – apart from the ecological – are religion and language. Croatia belongs to the western part of the South Slavic cultural circle, which has been influenced by an inter-European feudal social pattern with permanent influence from Habsburg.
The feudal and ecclesiastical institutions dominated both the urban culture and the peasant population. The neighboring countries of Italy, Austria and Hungary have each had an impact, especially in the field of construction art, in the design, industries and crafts of the buildings. The open fires of the coastal regions with smoke were introduced directly through Italian influence, as was the filigree art in Dalmatia’s coastal areas. Farm facilities, terraced villages, half-timbered houses and the use of building materials point to German influence but at the same time have their roots in ecology. The same applies to sheep farming in Croatia’s highlands with unmistakable alpine features in milk handling, cheese preparation and the way to ambulate animals between summer and winter pastures. As a South Slavic inheritance in Croatia, the way to bake directly on heated ground is counted under a lid, the open hearth with its fireplace,opanki), the large family system zadrugan, an intricate system of family ties, brotherhood and fatherhood systems. Croatian culture is characterized by cooperative working practices, including through the use of tools and animals. In the folktales the fire is important: the practice of burning Christmas stock (badnjak), to skip fire on St. John’s Day and other annual seasons. In the spiritual culture, popular belief is important with phenomena such as the “rain girl” dodola and the raw figure rest, as well as local historical heroics (eg about Kraljević) and epic songs in folk poetry. A central institution for public culture research is located in Zagreb and publishes the yearbook Narodna Umjetnost.