“Marko Marulić – A European Humanist”: NSK exhibition at the National Library of Lithuania
From 15 January to 14 February 2020, the National and University Library in Zagreb, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in the Republic of Lithuania, will put on a special exhibition at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania. The Marko Marulić – A European Humanist exhibition will present the father of Croatian literature, whose work brought together the influences and content making up European identity and earned Marulić wide recognition in the context of European cultural heritage.
As the seat of Croatia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2020, the Library wishes to present to Europe, as well as globally, some of the most significant figures in Croatia’s history. One of them is undoubtedly Marko Marulić (1450-1524), whose legacy will be the focus of this exhibition. Its organisation is supported by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, while the partners of the exhibition are Književni krug Split, a cultural and publishing association of the intellectuals of Split, and Dr Bratislav Lučin, Head of MARVLIANVM, a Split-based research centre focusing on Marko Marulić’s heritage, whose findings and texts make the backbone of the exhibition.
There are many facets and layers to the connection between Marko Marulić and the National and University Library in Zagreb on the one hand and everything that Marulić stands for in Croatia’s culture and history on the other. As the father of Croatian literature, Marulić is the very symbol of the Croatian written word, while the Library, as both the guardian and treasure trove of Croatian written heritage throughout centuries, only reinforces his privileged position in Croatian and European literature, especially through resources in its collections with direct and indirect connections to Marulić.
Apart from his immense importance in the context of Croatian literature, Marulić is equally important for Croatia’s entire cultural heritage. His works were published in the major book-printing centres of the turn of the 16th century, translated in many world languages and are today included in all relevant library catalogues, reference works and bibliographies. Apart from being the most notable Croatian writer of that period, Marulić was a humanist whose work reached far beyond literature and whose religious and moral writings in Latin brought him fame in the cultural circles of both Europe and the rest of the world.
The exhibition’s 12 display boards, with texts in Lithuanian and English, will feature a representative selection of Marulić’s works preserved at the National and University Library in Zagreb, mostly as part of its Manuscripts and Old Books Collection. It will offer insight into his most widely read works, which went through many editions and got translated in several languages within several decades after their publication. The exhibition’s dynamic content will also give an overview of the examples of Marulić’s influence on distinguished European figures of that time and present varied content on Marulić included in world encyclopaedias, lexicons, catalogues, bibliographies and reference works in the field of literature and history, as additional evidence of Marulić’s international significance. Marulić’s oeuvre will also be presented in relation to the work of his prominent contemporaries, among which Martynas Mažvydas, the author and editor of the first book printed in the Lithuanian language, particularly stands out.
The exhibition is intended to represent another among numerous connections between Croatia and Lithuania in terms of their respective histories and cultural legacies, providing a strong foundation for cooperation between the two countries in the European Union and beyond. Upon its closing in Vilnius, it will be put on in several other Lithuanian cities as part of the presentation of Croatian cultural heritage during Croatia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union.