The bell maker Ivan Krstitelj Rabljanin
The bell maker Ivan Krstitelj Rabljanin was born here on the island of Rab in the 1470s. He learned his foundry skills from Venetian and Rab masters and earned the title of the greatest Croatian bronze bell and cannon maker of the Renaissance.
He opened his first foundry in the old part of the town of Rab. Remnants of a foundry were recently discovered in the area of Kaldanac, so it is assumed that this was the weapon and bell foundry of Ivan Rabljanin.
In his time, Europe was threatened by the Turks. The Republic of Dubrovnik was the first to start preparing its defences. For this reason, Ivan Rabljanin applied to the Republic of Dubrovnik, where he was engaged as a skilled weapon maker and made an enormous cannon with spiral grooves in the barrel.
In 1506, Ivan Rabljanin cast his biggest and most beautiful bell, which today still marks the hours on Dubrovnik City Tower.
In 1540, Ivan Rabljanin cast a bell for Rab Cathedral. It was 68 cm in diameter and 76 cm high. Inspired by Gothic and the Renaissance, as a motif to decorate the bell, he took acanthus leaves and flowers that were interwoven between the figures of the Virgin Mary with Jesus, and relief images of St. Veronica, St. Francis, St. John the Baptist, and St. James.
The bell has not been preserved, as the Austrians took it from the island in 1917. It is assumed that this was the last bell cast by Ivan Rabljanin.
He started his life here on this wonderful island and also made his last work for us, the inhabitants of Rab.