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 »  Home  »  Music  »  Ivana Marija Vidovic and Diana Hilje celebrating Rugjer Boskovic in Brera in Milano, Italy, 17 May 2016
 »  Home  »  Science  »  Ivana Marija Vidovic and Diana Hilje celebrating Rugjer Boskovic in Brera in Milano, Italy, 17 May 2016
 »  Home  »  Education  »  Ivana Marija Vidovic and Diana Hilje celebrating Rugjer Boskovic in Brera in Milano, Italy, 17 May 2016
Ivana Marija Vidovic and Diana Hilje celebrating Rugjer Boskovic in Brera in Milano, Italy, 17 May 2016
By Nenad N. Bach and Darko Žubrinić | Published  05/7/2016 | Music , Science , Education | Unrated
We proudly announce the concert of Diana Hilje and Ivana Marija Vidović at the National Library of Brera in Milano

VOX RAGUSEI: Ivana Marija Vidović, pianist, and Diana Hilje, mezzosoprano, both originating from Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Photo by Hrvoje Đurković.

Announcement of the concert of VOX RAGUSEI:
Diana Hilje, mezzosoprano (Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb) and
Ivana Marija Vidović, pianist, Dubrovnik, who will perform
the music pieces
by Jelena Pucić Sorkočević (1786-1865) and Luka Sorkočević (1734-1789), both from Dubrovnik.

Jelena Sorkočević is the earliest known Croatian women-composer:

Jelena Pucić Sorkočević (1786-1865), the first Croatian woman composer.
Her compositions belong to early and middle Romantic era.
Photo from

Sorkočević summer palace in Dubrovnik from the 16th century.

Luka Sorkočević (1734-1789), Dubrovnik: Symphony in D major No.3, II Andante

Sorkočević summer palace on the Lapad penisnula in Dubrovnik. Photo by Ivana Marija Vidović.

Brera, Milano
The founder of the astronomical observatory in Brera in Milano is Ruđer Bošković (1711-1787), SJ, distinguished Croatian scientist.


The greatest and most famous Croatian philosopher and scientist Rudjer Boskovic (Boscovich, 1711-1787), was born in Dubrovnik, where he was educated in the Jesuit Collegium. He was a member of the Royal Society of London, a member of St.Petersbug Academy, "membre correspondant" of the French Academie Royale des Sciences, a member of the Accademia dell'Arcadia, a professor at many European universities. Very delicate work on repairing the cupola of St. Peter's church in the Vatican (diameter: 42m) was entrusted to R. Boskovic, a proof that he was a leading European authority for static computations and civil engineering of that time. Upon the request of Austrian Empress Maria Theresia, Boskovic was solving the problem of stability of Royal Library (now National Library) in Vienna.

Rudjer Boskovic

Portrait of Boskovic by the English painter Edge Pine (London, 1760).

He was also the founder of the astronomical observatory in Brera in Milano. In 1773 a charter granted by Louis XV made him a French subject. Soon he was appointed by Louis XV to a very prestigious position and became the Director of Naval Optics of the French Navy in Paris (Optique Militaire de la Marine Royale de France). He left to his adoptive country an achromatic telescope and micrometer. Boskovic spent nine years in France, and became a good friend to many outstanding scientist, like the mathematician Clairaut, Lalande, Buffon. When D'Alembert took him for Italian, he hastened to correct him.

Boskovic stayed 7 months in England and met many famous scientists there: James Bradley (famous astronomer), George Parker (president of the Royal Academy), Samuel Johnson (Lexicographer), Edmund Burke (philosopher and political writer), Joshua Reynolds (the first president of the Royal Academy of Arts), and others. It is interesting that in England he designed a telescope filled with water in all its components, which was implemented at the Greenwich observatory in 1871, that is, 84 years after his death. He also met Benjmanin Franklin, who showed him some of his electrical experiments, see an article by Branko Franolic.

A detail from the Jesuit Collegium where R. Boskovic was educated,
17th century, representing coat of arms of
the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia,

Boskovic was also a brilliant Croatian Latinist poet. He wrote an extensive scientific epic De solis et lunae defectibus (On Solar and Lunar Eclipse) published in London in 1760. It contains 5570 Latin verses, and was dedicated to the Royal Society of England whose member he was. In the title one can read "Father r. Boskovic, of the Jesuit Order", although at that time it was forbidden for Jesuits to live and work in England. The epic was written in the manner of Roman classics, in dactilus hexameter.

For more information see Latin as literary language among the Croats

When Charles Burney, a well known English musicologist, met Boskovic in Milan, he wrote: ...if all Jesuits were like this father, who uses the higher science and the work of mind to advance science for the happiness of mankind, then it were to be wished that this society were as durable as is this world. Boskovic was buried in the church of S. Maria Podone in Milano.

Rudjer Boskovic

French astronomer Joseph-Jerome de Lalande wrote the following lines in his book Voyage en Italie:

Le plus grand mathématicen que l'aie connu ŕ Rome est M. Boscovich, alors jésuite: il est né ŕ Raguse en 1711, mais il vint ŕ Rome étant encore fort jeune, et aprčs avoir longtemps professé les mathématiques au collčge romain il fut fait professeur ŕ Milan et ensuite ŕ Pavie; mais l'on voyait avec peine des talents supérieurs comme les siens, concentrés dans cette derniére ville; non seulement il n'y a personne en Italie dont les ouvrages soient aussi célŕbres dans toute l'Europe que les siens, mais je ne connais pas de géomčtre plus spirituel et plus profond que lui. Sa mesure de la terre, son beau traité sur la loi de la pesanteur, ses découvertes sur la lumičre et sur diverses parties de la physisque, de l'astronomie, de la géométrie, son počme sur les éclipses, imprimé ŕ Londres, ŕ Venise et ŕ Paris, peuvent doner une idée du nombre et de l'étendue de ses talents; mais il faut l'avoir connu particulérement, pour savoir combien il a de génie, combien son caractčre est aimable, sa conversation intéressante, et ses idées sublimes dans tout les genres. En 1773, il a été appelé en France et naturalisé Français. Il est actuellement [1784] ŕ Bassano, occupé ŕ faire imprimer ses nouveaux ouvrages, en cinq volumes.

William Thompson-Kelvin, the English physicist (19/20 centuries), once expressed his opinion that his atomic theory is a pure "Boskovicianism." Still earlier, Sir Humphry Davy, professor of physics and chemistry at the Royal Institution in London from 1802 till 1827, mentioned the name of Boskovic on several occasions in his Diary (Commonplace Book), accepting his atomistic theory. The diary is kept in the archives of the Royal Institution in London. Also a famous Irish mathematician and physicist R.W. Hamilton wrote extensively about Boskovic's theory of forces.

With his theory of forces R. Boskovic was a forerunner of modern physics for almost two centuries. It was described in his most important book Theoria Philosophiae naturalis (Vienna 1758, Venice 1763, London 1922, American edition in 1966).

Werner Heisenberg (Nobel prize for physics in 1932) wrote the following:

Among scientists from the 18th century Boskovic occupies outstanding place as a theologian, philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer. His "Theoria philosophiae naturalis" announced hypotheses which were confirmed only in the course of last fifty years.
Indeed, see his graph of regions of attractive and repelling forces between material points (elementary particles), the closest region being repelling, tending to infinity (nuclear force!; see here; published in his Dissertationes de lumine pars secunda, 1748), and the farthest region is repelling, corresponding to gravitational force:

Rugjer Boskovic's unified theory of forces (nuclear, gravitational,...)

This graph was since 1763 called the Boskovic curve (curva Boscovichiana).

Robert Marsh, the author of Physics and Poets, credits Boskovic with the idea of FIELD. Faraday and others took the idea from him, see here. He was the first to apply probability to the theory of errors. Laplace and Gauss acknowledged their indebtedness to his work which led to the Legendre principle of least squares in statistics (stating that the best fitting line is the one with the smallest sum of squared residuals).

Interior of Franciscan monastery in Dubrovnik (photo by Najka Mirkovic)

He was also very active in astronomy and diplomacy. A great many letters sent to his sister and two brothers written in Croatian witness that he did not neglect his mother tongue. So in one of his letters he wrote that in one of European cities he saw soldiers - "our Croats" (nase Hrvate).

Interior of Franciscan monastery in Dubrovnik (photo by Mladen Zubrinic)

He also wrote poetry. Most of his manuscripts are kept in the special Boskovic Archives in the Rare Books library in Berkeley, University of California, USA:
  • altogether 180 items and including 66 scientific treatises, plus
  • rich correspondence comprising over 2,000 letters, among others with D'Alambert, Lagrange, Laplace, Jacobi and Bernoulli; he had intense correspondence with his friend Voltaire.

A portrait of Boskovic, published in Milano in 1818 in a collection of famous
people living between 18th century the beginning of the 19th.
(many thanks to Dr Luca Leoni, Italy, for the photo)

Some of his books, articles and letters, together with other documents, are kept in the famous Franciscan monastery (Samostan Male Brace) in Dubrovnik. Its library possesses 30,000 volumes, 22 incunabula, 1,500 valuable handwritten documents. It was severely damaged in the aggression in 1991/92 (shelled by the Serbian Army - 37 direct hits).


The Brera Library in Milano, Italy. Speaking dr. Maria Goffredo, director of the Brera Library in Milano.
Next to her, sitting Snježana Hefti - president of the Croatian community in Milano, Cristiano Pambianchi - lawyer from Milano,
Slobodan Prosperov Novak from Dubrovnik - historian of Croatian literature, Silvio Ziliotto - translator, Elio Antonello - astrophysicist.

Diana Hilje and Ivana Marija Vidović in the Brera Library

Milanska Brera u dubrovačkom ruhu

U protekli se utorak uoči rođendana Ruđera Boškovića u milanskoj Breri, u jednoj od najvažnijih europskih biblioteka, Biblioteca di Brera dogodilo pravo dubrovačko - hrvatsko slavlje. U dupke popunjenoj impozantnoj čitaonici, uz vrlo probranu publiku, te mnoštvo novinara svatko tko je doputovao zbog ovog važnog događanja u Milano doživio je pravu svečanost  te mogao bit ponosan zbog bogate kulture kojoj pripadamo. Govorilo se o dubrovačkoj zlatnoj povijesti, naročito o velikanima koji su prekretnica, revolucija, svatko u svom polju. Onaj najširi zasigurno je Ruđer Bošković koji je na vrhu Brere osmislio i postavio temelje za jednu od najvažnijih zvjezdarnica i observatorija svijeta. Riječima da se sunce okreće oko zemlje dovoljno govori o Boškoviću i njegovu karakteru, o njegovom geocentričnom ali i egocentričnom duhu, ustrajnosti, obrazovanju, širini, ali i posebnosti. Bošković je Dubrovnik. On je uistinu svojevrsni genij. A sveprisutna publika predano je pratila dvosatno izlaganje o zavidnoj ostavštini. To su pojedinci, naš put je manji, ali ne manje važan, ne manje bogat. Bošković to dokazuje kao i umjetnice, povjesničari i znalci koji su sinoć o svome predano govorili na tako važnome mjestu. Brera je hram, žila kucavica europske kulture, poglavito talijanske gdje su se naši velikani školovali. A sami Bošković govorio je o Italiji kao o: "pravoj i slatkoj majci".

U jednoj od prekrasnih čitaonica biblioteke Brera izlagali su direktorica same biblioteke dr. Maria Goffredo koja nije skrivala oduševljenje i pomno je pratila sav događaj, staviviši na raspolaganje blago knjižnice. Milanski advokat Cristiano Pambianchi, čovjek zaljubljen u svu našu povijest i tradiciju koji je događaj i osmislio sa svojim prijateljima koje je i pozvao da partecipiraju izloživši publici zbirku knjiga koje posjeduje iz naše književnosti. Prof. Slobodan Prosperov Novak vješto nas je i opširno, kako on to zna proveo kroz Dubrovnik u vremenskom okviru, istaknuvši ono najbitnije, poručivši ono s čime se moramo ponositi, odvajajući Dubrovnik od Hrvatske pa opet spajajući ih u nerazdvojnu cjelinu. Novak je u kratko predstavio velikane Boškovića i Držića dok je talijanski predavač i poznati astrofizičar Elio Antonello stručnije progovorio o našem genijalnom Dubrovčaninu Ruđeru Boškoviću kao „europskom znanstveniku“. Gospodin Antonello je počastio brojne pristigle otvorivši muzej observatorija iznimno za ovu namjeru i omogućio razgledavanje vlastoručne Ruđerove korespondencije iz godine 1781. s engleskim najuglednijim astrolozima, prigodom otkrivanja planeta Uran. 

Svakako je za istaći nekoliko snažnih poruka prof. Novaka: „U Dubrovniku ne možeš živjeti u Njegovom vremenu. U Dubrovniku možeš živjeti samo u vremenu bezvremena. Dubrovnik ne može biti ničija pista za poljetanje. Hrvatska je posebna jer svojim Dubrovnikom šalje danas, isto kao što je to radila stoljećima, poruku ovalnog oblika sjevera i juga, poruku u kojoj je osjetna cjelina dviju obala Jadrana, a molekule te poruke su dubrovačka kultura jučer i danas. Ovaj vrhunski događaj je intiman i prijateljski trenutak zahvale drevnom Dubrovniku za kulturnu ostavštinu koja je i danas krilo našeg suživota.“

U večeri kulture i ljepote nije mogao izostati - citiram iz impresija gospođe Bianca Misure: „glazbeni ‘začin’ dubrovačkih prvih dama, pijanistice i pjesnikinje Ivane Marije Vidović i mezzosopranistice Diane Hilje HNK Zagreb. Nazočnu je publiku veoma obradovao glazbeni dio, a za program umjetnice su odabrale isključivo djela dubrovačkih autora: Antuna Sorkočevića, Jelene Pucić – Sorkočević, te Vincenza Comnena. S oduševljenjem je publika primila ovaj nastup, izmamivši dodatke, a pijanistica Vidović izrecitirala je na talijanskom jeziku i svoju poeziju „Voda je tvoje ime/D'acqua č il tuo nome“ posvećenu Marinu Držiću za njegovih 500 godina rođenja koja je u Italiji objavljena u Antologiji poezije Edizioni Akkuaria 2008. godine.

Velik događaj za pamćenje, na izuzetnoj adresi, pomno pripremljena predstavljanja i koncert, a publika koja diše, uči i dijeli. Jer što smo bez druge strane mosta….jer što smo bez drugih kultura i tradicija. 

Hvala Dubrovniče! Hvala Milano! Hvala Ruđeru Boškoviću i svima koji su doprinjeli da se uvijek iznova zaljubimo u ljepotu koja ne jenjava nigda, te da se opet uzdignemo na vječni Olimp koji pobjeđuje i koji neumorno iznova ustraje. 

Fotografije: Massimiliano Casati

Ivana Marija Vidović in the Brera Libary, Milano, 17th of May 2016

Diana Hilje, Cristiano Pambianchi and Ivana Marija Vidović

A part of the accompaning exhibition of books from the Brera Library, related to Rugjer Bošković and to the city of Dubrovnik

"It was built in the historic Palazzo Brera in 1764 by the Jesuit  astronomer Ruggero Boscovich"

Marin Držić (Darxich) 1508-1567, Croatian Renaissance writer in Dubrovnik, wrote "Tirena Comedia",
 published in 1551 in Croatian language.

Ivana Marija Vidović and Diana Hilje in the Brera Library, Milano, 2016.

Formated for CROWN by Darko Žubrinić
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