The first day of the ceremony

A procession of around forty carriages was headed by Baroness Klotilda Buratti-Vranyczany, whose carriage carried Bishop Strossmayer and deputy mayor Crnadak. As they were driving by, the gathered crowd cheered and showered them with flowers.

Baroness Klotilda Buratti-Vranyczany (property of: The Croatian State Archives). She was the daughter of businessman and philanthropist Ambroz Vranyczany, one of the founders of Matica ilirska (The Croatian Heritage Foundation), who supported the founding of both the Academy and the University with a significant financial contribution. The salon in the baroness’s palace Dverce, which she later bequeathed to the City of Zagreb, was an intersection of the political and cultural elite. Just like other members of her family, she was also a patron of many cultural and charitable institutions and initiatives. Through a cession of a claim from a third party in the amount of 1300 forints towards the construction of the palace on Zrinski Square, and a posthumous donation of 20 000 crowns, she became one of the more generous patrons of the Academy.

The procession drove along Kolodvorska Street, Ilica, Ban Jelačić Square, and Marija Valerija Street to Zrinski Square. Although Strossmayer usually stayed with Rački during his visits to Zagreb, this time he was hosted by Baron Ljudevit Vranyczany Dobrinović, in his newly built luxurious palace, located in the neighborhood of the Academy’s palace.

Map of Zagreb from 1885 (from: Führer durch Agram und Umgebung: Nebst einem Plane der Stadt, 1885).

View from the south-eastern corner of Zrinski Square towards the palace of Ljudevit Vranyczany (property of: The Zagreb City Museum). The northern façade of the Academy can be seen on the left.

Once he arrived at his temporary home in Zagreb, although tired, the Bishop greeted the cheering masses from the Vranyczany palace’s balcony by taking off his travelling hat and bowing his head. In the meantime, the already mentioned procession of societies arrived with marching music from the railway station, starting the ceremonious parade, followed by ovations from the gathered crowds. After the crowds had dissipated, the Bishop was greeted by representatives of the Academy led by President Rački, University delegates led by Rector Gjuro Pilar, councils of the Croatian Heritage Foundation and Society of Saint Jerome, professors from Zagreb’s High School led by Dean Josip Torbar, conte Kosta Vojnović on behalf of the Provincial Council of the Kingdom of Dalmatia, delegation of the City of Sisak and notable individuals, while delegates from Ljubljana awarded him with the Honorary Citizen charter.

Kosta Vojnović, lawyer, university professor and politician, Strossmayer’s close friend and associate (property of: The Croatian State Archives). He supported the idea of Croatia’s unification with Dalmatia. He served two terms as a member of Parliament (1878-81 and 1881-84). He was the vice-president and author of the program of the Independent National Party. He also became a full member of the Academy in the year 1890.
Tomo Gajdek, a notable cleric and educator of the people, he served as the first president of the Croatian Literary Society of Saint Jerome (property of: The Croatian State Archives)

Strossmayer gave his host a portrait bust with his likeness, sculpted by Vatroslav Donegani. Vranyczany strived to please his guest by inviting friends and acquaintances, an array of dignitaries and foreign representatives. At the first meal, he invited some of Strossmayer’s most avid admirers: Vice Marshal Đuro Jelačić, ex-Chancellor and Ban Ivan Mažuranić and his son Vladimir, Franjo Rački and Matija Mrazović, ex great Prefect Ivan Kukuljević, President of the Society of Saint Jerome, Tomo Gajdek, Dragutin Pogledić, recent Chair of the Justice Department, Marijan Derenčin, Colonel Ivan Trnski, Adolf Veber, Kosta Vojnović, Josip Torbar, Radoslav Lopašić, and the Baron’s own brothers, Dragan and Vlatko.

Đuro Jelačić (from: Home and abroad, 1891). Younger brother of Croatia’s Ban, Josip Jelačić, after whose death he inherited the noble title, Count. As an extremely accomplished military commander, he attained the title of Vicemarshal and went on to perform high military functions. However, he was retired because of his criticism of the germanization process of Croatia. Although a “virilist” member of Parliament, he was not a prominent politician. He discussed the idea of transferring his brother’s remains from their family chapel in Novi Dvori to Zagreb, but this idea fell through because of the political climate in the country. The year that marked the completion of the decoration of the Academy palace in Zagreb also marked the finalization of the Jelačić family mausoleum, which – perhaps at the suggestion of Strossmayer and Rački – was designed by Bollé. Strossmayer was supposed to hold the consecration ceremony of the family tomb, where Ban Josip’s remains where to be transferred on the very occasion. The ceremony was also supposed to coincide with the Gallery’s grand opening ceremony. However, the Jelačić family eventually decided to place the remains of only the recently departed son of Đuro Jelačić, Marko, for the time being, and to hold an intimate commemoration service. Strossmayer thanked them for the honor and did not hold the service. The tomb was finally consecrated by Rački at the end of November. Reporting on the toasts held by the many dignitaries during the feast at the Vranyczany home organized after the Gallery’s grand opening, the newspaper Pozor quoted Strossmayer’s plea to Đuro Jelačić to proceed with the transfer of the remains of Ban Josip from the family chapel to the new tomb as soon as possible, and with as much dignity as possible. Allegedly, the Bishop had then expressed the readiness to walk to Novi Dvori in order to personally bless the deceased’s remains, to which the Count replied with a promise to do exactly as asked. However, the remains of Ban Jelačić stayed in Novi Dvori until the 1990s.
Matija Mrazović, lawyer, publisher, and politician, Strossmayer’s political ally and friend (property of: The Zagreb City Museum). One of the founders of the National Party. After the party split in 1881, he formed a minority with Rački and Strossmayer and founded the Independent National Party. He served several terms as a member of Parliament, and as the Mayor of Zagreb between 1879 and 1881. During his short term as mayor, he succeded in improving the city’s communal conditions and repairing the damage left by Zagreb’s devastating earthquake. He is the father of the intellectual and visionary, Ladislav Mrazović.
Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski (from: Vienac, 12th September 1885). Politician and polymath with a versatile career in the realms of culture and research. One of the instigators of the Croatian National Revival, and founders of the Illyrian, later National Party. He performed many political functions during his lifetime, such as the Great Prefect of Zagreb County (1861-1867) and member of Parliament. During his rich and fertile career in researching and collecting cultural and historical heritage, he founded an array of cultural institutions, and indebted Croatia’s national historiography, art history, archaeology, conservation, epigraphy, archival studies, library studies, lexicography, musicology, ethnology, and folklore studies. He founded The Society of Yugoslav History and The Croatian Archaeological Society. Until the year 1860, he performed the duties of Croatia’s national archivist, and from 1855 he acted as the first Croatian conservationist of cultural monuments. From the year 1874 until his death in 1889, he was the president of The Croatian Heritage Foundation. Three years before his death, he was named honorary member of the Academy. Many rare books and most of the most valuable archival material owned by the Academy’s library or archives comes from Sakcinski’s private library, which the Academy had acquired in the year 1868. In the year 1889, Kukuljević Sakcinski gave the miniature painting The Abduction of Ganymede to the Strossmayer Gallery.
Radoslav Lopašić, historian (property of: The Karlovac City Museum). He grew up in Karlovac, an important center of the Illyrian movement, where he was exposed to the ideas of the National Revival since his youth. During his lifetime he performed many functions within the judicial and executive branches of local, county, and state government. He collected historical documents and archaeological objects, and wrote historical studies, especially about the early medieval period. In 1883, he became a corresponding member of the Academy, in whose publications he frequently published his studies.

The magazine Zvonimir relayed the information that the host’s sister-in-law, Baroness Ivka, took care of the many guests invited to meals and dinners. As reported by the same source, these guests came from all parties.

Ivka Vranyczany, hostess of numerous feasts and banquets in the house of her brother-in-law, Ljudevit, during the Bishop’s visit in November of 1884 (property of: The Museum of Arts and Crafts)

The magnificent dinner, which started a series of feasts and banquets organized by Baron Ljud. Vraniczany in his wonderful salons in honor of his esteemed guest, included the latter’s intimate friends. Among them were com. Rački, Ivan Mažuranić and Count Gjuro Jellačić, brother of our immortal Ban. At dinner, our valued host toasted his guest. With elegant words, our nobleman expressed the joy he felt because the Bishop decided to accept his hospitality, stressing succinctly, in words devoid of empty meaning, Strossmayer’s merit, ending his speech with “welcome to my home”. The Bishop replied in kind, with the same dazzling courtesy characteristic of his person. The host also toasted Ivan Mažuranić, who replied and seized the opportunity to highlight the virtues of Vraniczan, which never steered from the idea of nationality.(from: “Feasts at Baron Ljudevit Vraniczany’s”, Pozor, 10th November 1884)

Menu of the dinner hosted on 8th November for the small circle of the Bishop’s admirers (from: “Feasts at Baron Ljudevit Vraniczany’s“, Pozor, 10th November 1884)

In the afternoon of the first fay of his visit, the Bishop called on the Head of the Department for internal affairs, Danilo Stanković, and Commanding General Ramberg. That same evening, the opera Nikola Šubić Zrinski by Zajc was being staged in the Upper Town Theatre. The performance was conducted by the composer, and the leading parts were played by Ivan Hreljanović, Matilda Lesić, and Marija Prikril. The guest of honor, accompanied by Crnadak, was welcomed and escorted to the ceremonial box by the intendant, Josip Kneisel. Rački later joined the Bishop in the theater box.

General Hermann Ramberg (property of: The Croatian State Archives in Zagreb). From the year 1881 he served as the commanding general and cavalry general in Zagreb. Two years later, after Ladislav Pejačević stepped down as Ban because of the placement of bilingual coats of arms on the headquarters of the Financial Administration in Zagreb, which was contrary to the regulations of the Croatian-Hungarian agreement, Ramberg was named Royal Commissioner for Croatia and Slavonia. He is remembered for his rational attitude during the riots that erupted because of the affair with the bilingual coats of arms.
The old Provincial National Theater on the corner of Saint Mark’s Square and Gospodska Street (property of: the Academy’s Department of the history of Croatian theater). The theater had three rows of boxes and one row of galleries, and could receive from 700 to 800 hundred people.
Interior of the old theater building, a reconstruction by architect and theater enthusiast, Aleksandar Freudenreich, published for the first time in the Theater Almanach (Kazališni almanah) in 1937 (property of: The State Archives in Zagreb)
Playbill for the commemorative performance of the opera Nikola Šubić-Zrinjski on 8th November 1884 (property of: the Academy’s Department of the history of Croatian theater)
Play audio recording U boj
Composer Ivan Zajc, who also conducted the opera performance on 8th November 1884 (property of: the Academy’s Department of the history of Croatian music)
Baritone Ivan Hreljanović, who played the leading role in the commemorative performance of the Zrinjski opera (property of: the Academy’s Department of the history of Croatian theater)
Mezzosoprano Matilda Lesić, who played the leading female role (property of: The National and University Library)
Josip Kneisel, theater intendant (property of: The Croatian State Archives)

At the end of the performance, Strossmayer was followed on his way through the city, lit by gaslight and a multitude of lanterns placed in windows, by ovations from gathered people. Many houses were adorned with flowers, carpets and garlands, but also banners carrying words such as “Benefactor of the people, may the good Lord repay you”, “Long live Strossmayer”, or with his motto „Everything for faith and country“, while the façade of the City Council bore the esteemed Bishop’s initials.

Among the uncommonly lit buildings we primarily mention the City Council. Every one of its windows adorned with candles, two windows on the second floor bearing banners. From the ground to the roof of the City Council, three giant pipes rose in different figures, spewing gaslight. Among the stars, the letters J. J. S. shone brightly.(from: “In the theater”, The Official Gazette, 10th November 1884)

View from Saint Mark’s Square down Gospodska Street, before 1885 (property of: The State Archives in Zagreb)

In front of the Council, torchbearers led by musicians started their long procession, which included: “real torchbearers” from all walks of life at the front, in the middle, and at the back, delegates of city representatives, numerous societies, firefighters and youth, followed by Zagreb’s citizens. They paraded from Saint Mark’s Square down Mesnička Street, towards Ilica, then across Jelačić Square and Marija Valerija Street to Zrinski Square. In front of Vranyczany’s palace, choirs of singing societies sang: Ustaj rode!, Zrinjsko-Frankopanku i Živila Hrvatska!. for the Bishop and many dignitaries that the Baron had invited. This was followed by cheers from all participants, after which the Bishop briefly addressed the gathered crowd with words of gratitude. Another performance of the last reveille ensued, followed by a series of cheers, after which the procession dispersed.

This was the most poignant moment of that glorious day, the liveliness of the Bishop’s cheer which a paintbrush could transfer onto a canvas. The hat raised high and the joyous face of the first voice of Christianity, standing on the balcony enveloped by his host, the Baron, the fiery Croatian and Baron’s sister-in-law, Ivka, both Counts Kulmer, dr. Rački, dr. Vojnović, dr. Derenčin, Fran Folnegović, dr. Barčić, and Ivan Kukuljević. The sight illuminated by a thousand torches – we would be greatly indebted to that painter for he would have ennobled the glorious occasion of the opening of the Strossmayer Gallery of Pictures.(from: “Opening ceremony of the Strossmayer Gallery of Pictures in Zagreb on 8th and 9th November 1884”, Zvonimir, 1886)

After the torchlight procession, the crowd dispersed to observe the illumination displayed along every street, even those furthest away, where some poor soul had lit a lamp and candle next to a pot of flowers, with a banner saying “Long live Strossmayer”, even though no one is really expected to pass by. Many banners carrying the Croatian coat of arms and patriotic lyrics could be seen on windows; especially adorned were the houses of the first Croatian savings bank, Budicki’s and Prister’s, with carpets, lanterns and a Bengal fire. The apartments of Franjo Švarc and dr. Mazzura, all cafes on Jelačić Square, adorned with an array of balloons and flags. The Chamber of Trades and Crafts, the Academy’s palace as well. Along Jelačić and Zrinski Square, the candelabra were turned into great glowing stars and torches, all depicting a magical sight to be remembered with joy by everyone. […](from: “Illumination and torchlight”, Pozor, 10th November 1884)

A soiree ensued in the Baron’s house, which included many distinguished citizens, members of parliament from various political parties, intellectuals, representatives from Rijeka and Slovenia, and others. According to newspaper reports, tables were set in three of the palace’s halls, which did not hinder the communication among guests, who gathered in the main hall to toast and hear commemorative speeches.

[…] That our own dignitaries held speeches should not even be mentioned. Barčić, Derenčin, Folnegović and Vojnović accepted their turn to honor the Bishop and the host. Vojnović toasted to the unity of the Croatian intelligence because, as he said, the people are united, so the intelligence needs to emulate this unity of the people, resolve once and for all their petty grievances, which hinder the achievements of national goals. Folnegović replied by saying that he and those who share his opinion will never reject a call for unity in the difficult struggle for national rights.(from: “Feasts at Baron Ljudevit Vraniczany’s“, Pozor, 10th November 1884)

Marijan Derenčin, lawyer, politician, and author (property of: The Zagreb City Museum). A prominent member of the National Party, which he also represented in Parliament. During the governing of Ban Mažuranić, he was named Head of the Department of Justice, an office he held for seven years, until 1883 when he resigned due to dissagreements with Ban L. Pejačević. Along with these duties, he was also the government’s Theater Commissioner between the years 1880 and 1882. After the affair with the placement of bilingual coats of arms, he joined the Independent National Party. In the context of the dwindling relations between Strossmayer and Kršnjavi, caused by the gradual convergence of the latter with government circles, and the final open compliance with the pro-Hungarian National Party, it is worth mentioning that this once close confidant of Strossmayer played a dishonorable part in the subsequent parliament elections. In the elections for the first Zagreb county at the end of 1885, he tried to obstruct the election of the opposing candidate, Derenčin.