July 2017 Rab crowns from the Royal Compound

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Rab crowns from the Royal Compound

Unknown Dalmatian authors

Carved stone

How much the history of the two Yugoslavias penetrated the Royal Compound and with how much attention the construction and arrangement of both the interior and the park was carried out in that spirit is indicated by the fact of purchasing the Dalmatian medieval artefacts in order to decorate the exterior of the Royal Palace. For a long time they were unfamiliar to the public, drowned in the Royal park and blended into the Palace atrium, so that almost no one paid any special attention to them. It seems that these two stone crowns were not as attractive as the interiors or the exceptional artwork of the Royal Palace, but they nevertheless have a meritorious place within the Royal Compound. The first, older stone crown, is  in the shadows of the park, while the other one is placed in the atrium of the Royal Palace. Rarely anyone except the experts could have assumed that inside the Compound, more precisely near the Royal Palace, there are two crowns from the Croatian island of Rab. Made in Dalmatia, probably during the late Middle Ages and at the dawn of a new age, the crowns arrived at the Royal Compound sometime after 1930. The third crown, much smaller in size, carved in marble, originates from the late twenties of the 20th century and most probably is the work of Nikolai Krasnov.

It is not by chance that these artefacts have ended up in the Royal Compound. It was originally conceived that the atrium of the Royal Palace should be adorned with a luxuriously decorated stone crown for a well in the central part. Nikolai Krasnov and other architects were playing with the variants of decorations for the atrium, and preserved archival sketches indicate that they were inspired by the medieval Dalmatian ones, such as the baptism well from the Zadar Cathedral of Sv. Stosija.

Certainly, these wonderful Dalmatian crowns can be connected with the stay of Yugoslav Queen Maria and her mother Romanian Queen Maria and their journey through Dalmatia in the mid-1920s, which is confirmed by the Illustrated Magazine of those years. Nevertheless, according to the testimony of the Rab residents, Queen Maria Karadjordjevic was once again on the island of Rab, around 1931-1932, and two cases of Rab antiquities were dispatched to the Yugoslav court on that occasion.

The idea of ​​integral Yugoslavia and the creation of a virtual Yugoslav tradition was also seen through the acquisition of medieval artefacts from the Balkans for decorating of the Royal Palace. In addition to the medieval icons from Orthodox monasteries, unusual marble crowns from the island of Rab were also brought to the Royal Compound.

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