Famous Croats SI

Famous Croats

Motifs: Zinka Kunc, Frano Supilo, Faust Vrančić                                                                

The stamps have been issued in 20-stamp sheets, and there is also a First Day Cover (FDC) issued by Croatia Post.

Zinka Kunc Milanov, a soprano and one of the greatest Prima Donnas Croatia has ever had, was born in Zagreb on May 17th, 1906 where she completed her education and received her degree in singing from the Academy of Music. She was tutored by Jan Ourednik, Milka Trnina and Marija Kostrenčić. She held her first independent concert in Zagreb in 1925, and made her opera stage debut in Ljubljana in 1927 in the role of Leonora in Verdi’s opera Il Trovatore. From 1929 to 1936 she was the Prima Donna of the Opera at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. During this first decade of arts, she played twenty seven roles and performed in a string of concert programs giving her maturity in terms of art that she later used to take on the world. Her leap into the international career first took her to the New German Theatre in Prague, and in 1937 she debuted at the New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. There, with a short break, she delighted the crowds for twenty nine seasons with the unique beauty of her voice and interpretation. She played many roles that earned her the title of the “Queen of the Metropolitan” and she was the absolute crowd favourite. She also made many guest appearances at many great world stages, such as the Vienna State Opera, the Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scalla in Milan … In 1966 she said “goodbye” to the opera stage, but continued to work in the field of pedagogy.

She perfectly mastered her dramatic soprano that was strong and expressive in all positions, with an incredible expressive ability even in the smallest of tones. She spoke of the daily work sacrifices that were crucial to success and to achieving results in the field of arts, of careful studies, of exact compliance with musical notes and “how it was important to know how to distribute one’s own temperament preventing it from running wild”.

Impeccably conscientious and endlessly dedicated to her work, at the twilight of her life, she was able to assess her most famous role with a lot of professional confidence: "Everything is written in Il Trovatore, you just have to sing beautifully."

In 1984 she was awarded with a special medal in the USA for her work as one of 87 prominent people of foreign descent for their contribution to New York and the United States.

In 1986 she visited Zagreb for the last time. She passed away in New York on May 30th, 1989.

Erika Krpan

Frano Supilo (1870 - 1917), a Croatian politician, journalist and a publicist, was born in Cavtat. His career began in Dubrovnik in 1891 when he founded a weekly political paper entitled Crvena Hrvatska (Red Croatia). He was the main editor there until 1899. The ideal of his political activities was the creation of a Croatian statehood. He advocated the reorganisation of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy on the federalist principle. At the end of 1899, he accepted an invitation from the Croatian entrepreneurs from Sušak to be the editor of a newspaper entitled Hrvatska sloga (Croatian Unity) issued under the name of Novi List (New Paper) beginning on January 2nd, 1900 and as Riječki novi list (Rijeka New Paper) from 1907. He moved to the redaction office of Novi list in Rijeka because of the greater freedom of the press. He turned the paper into one of the most influential, modern and political daily newspapers of the Monarchy. Along with Anto Trumbić, he was the main initiator of the Rijeka and Zadar Resolutions in 1905 that laid the groundwork for the “new course“ in politics. He founded the Croatian-Serbian Coalition with Svetozar Pribičević and was elected to the Croatian Parliament in 1906. He led the Croatian opposition in the Hungarian Parliament by initiating discussions about the fundamental constitutional questions regarding the position of Croatia. In the so called Friedjung Process in 1909, he was charged with high treason. Following his exoneration, he retreated from the Croatian-Serbian Coalition. At the beginning of WWI, he left the country and moved to London. There, he engaged in activities aimed at liberating and uniting the South Slavs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and was one of the co-founders of the Yugoslav Committee in 1915. Following the disclosure of the secret Treaty of London, he fought against the Italian imperialism on the Adriatic. His idea of creating a federal state of the South Slavs caused a conflict between him and Nikola Pašić, the Serbian Prime Minister, and the Yugoslav Committee. He left the Committee in 1916. He continued his fight for the Croatian question on his own. However, in 1917 he suffered a serious nervous breakdown and passed away in an asylum in London. His remains were transferred to Dubrovnik in 1927.

 Ivo Mileusnić

Faust Vrančić (Faustus Verantius) was a Croatian polymath, inventor, lexicographer as well as an author of philosophical, historiographical and literary works. He was born into a noble family in Šibenik on January 1st, 1551. He commenced his education in Šibenik and beginning in 1561, he spent seven years studying in Hungary with his uncle, Antun Vrančić, a diplomate and a church dignitary. He attended a renowned university in Padua from 1568 to 1572 studying law and philosophy. In 1575 he became a member of the Brotherhood of St. Jerome in Rome. In 1579 he became a military commander of Veszprem and an administrator of bishop estates in 1579. In 1581 he became the secretary of Rudolph II, the German-Roman Emperor and the Croatian-Hungarian King. At the court in Prague, he spent his time with scientists such as Tycho Brache, Johannes Kepler, Giordano Bruno and others. In 1594 he left Prague and completed and printed Dictionarium quinque nobilissimarum Europæ linguarum, Latinæ, Italicæ, Germanicæ, Dalmatiæ, & Vngaricæ (Dictionary of the Five Most Noble European Languages: Latin, Italian, German, Croatian and Hungarian, Venice, 1595). It was the first Croatian language dictionary and the first comprehensive Hungarian language dictionary. In 1598 he returned to the service of Rudolph II and was appointed the head bishop of Csanád and a royal governor of Hungary and Transylvania. He left the service in 1605 and moved to Rome where he dedicated his time to religion and writing. He was a consistent supporter of Catholic renewal. In 1608 he joined the Order of St. Paul of Tarsus, the so called Barnabites. During the final years of his life, he published the following works: Život nikoliko izabranih divic (Christian Women Saints), Logica nova (New Logic), Ethica christiana (Christian Ethics), and his capital work, Machinae novae (New Machine, Venice, 1615/16). This projects had visionary prospects of further technology development. Machinae novae (New Machine) covers a broad area of technology. He was the first person in the history of technology to bring up the idea of building a metal bridge, cable car projects and construction of a bridge suspended by chains, ideas widely used even today. Homo volans (The Flying Man) is one of his most acclaimed projects that brought him world-wide fame. Even though inventors had considered the idea of a parachute throughout history (Martini, Da Vinci), Vrančić was the first one who provided a construction design that contained all the elements of a functional modern parachute conceptualised for safe landing even from higher heights. As a member of liberal Europe, he was emotionally tied to his homeland.  He passed away on January 20th, 1617 in Venice. According to his wishes, his remains were transferred and buried at the Church of St. Mary in Prvić Luka on the Island of Prvić near Šibenik.  

Marijana Borić                          

Technical Details

Issue Date: 18.04.2017
Designer: Luka Juras, designer from Zagreb
Printer: AKD d.o.o., Zagreb
Process: Multicolor Offset Printing
Size: 29.82 x 35.50 mm
Values: 3 x 3.10 HRK