On Great Croatian Heraldic Artist Milan Sunko

Milan Sunko: Self-Portrait in Home Defence Uniform, 1889. (Petković Family Collection)

An original scientific paper by Dr. Željko Heimer, president of the Croatian Heraldic and Vexillological Association (HGZD) and the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FIAV) as we as the Master of Ceremonies and Herold – Chief of the Draconian Heraldic Office of the Society of Brethren of the Croatian Dragon was issued in the latest number of the scientific journal Review of Croatian History ranked at A1 excellence level, published by the Croatian History Institute. The paper is titled “Milan Sunko – a forgotten world renowned Croatian heraldic artist”.

Milan Sunko (Zidani Most, today in Slovenia, 5 December 1860 – Zagreb, 9 March 1891) was a heraldic artist, numismatist, and collector, who studied and started his career in Vienna working with the most renowned heraldists of the “classical” Austrian heraldic period. He moved to Zagreb where he made number of well received paintings and graphics and was supported by the intellectual elite of the fastly developing city. His brief spectacular carrier was abruptly ended by laryngeal tuberculosis and he died in his 31st year. His works are preserved in several museums and galleries in Zagreb, and his heraldic lithographs and ex libris bookplates are remembered in specialized bibliography. However, the Croatian heraldic historiography have forgotten all about him and this paper attempts to remedy this.

RCH XVIII (2022) 1 Cove Page

After the establishment of the Brotherhood of Croatian Dragon Society in 1905 – one of its founders being Emilij Laszowski, notable Croatian heraldist; it took upon a project to preserve Sunko’s grave, exhuming his remains and providing a modest but dignified grave for him at the Zagreb cemetery in 1910. To achieve that, the Draconian Society raised funds in an international action, activating his foreign friends and fans, documenting the project in respectable heraldic periodicals.

Milan Sunko: The Coat of Arms of Heinrich Kadich von Pferd, watercolor, 1890. (MGP-606, National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb).

The paper presentthe life of Milan Sunko as a respected Croatian heraldic artist, the activities of the Brotherhood of Croatian Dragon Society in Zagreb and among the international heraldic community in the project to preserve his earthly remains and on their fate afterwards. However, possibly even more important for Croatian heraldic heritage, it presents his heraldic works, mentions his other opus preserved in various collections in Zagreb and provide hints towards possible new findings on what Sunko did for Croatian heraldry, requiring further separate research.

The integral text ofthe article is available online at https://hrcak.srce.hr/287208