Romania Figurative Arts

By | December 23, 2021

The monuments of ancient Dacia art, and the Byzantine religious monuments of the fifth and sixth centuries, preserved in the Dobruja (foundations of churches in the city of Tropaeum Traiani), did not follow, while the consecutive barbarian invasions hindered the development of the arts. On the other hand, a persistence of popular art must be admitted, but the documents of it have not been preserved, almost exclusively in wood. This traditional art developed from the late Middle Ages onwards in parallel with the artistic currents from the East and the West. From the century XIII we can follow the development of art among the various political events that influenced it. The most notable periods were from the century. XIV to XVI, and also those of the reign of Matei Basarab (1632-1654), of Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688-1714) in Wallachia, and of Vasile Lupu (1634-1653) in Moldavia: at that time the Romanian princes were often patrons of the Christian art of the Balkan countries and especially of Mount Athos. Finally, a new artistic development is due to the national renaissance in the second half of the century. XIX. For Romania 2000, please check

From the origins to the century. XIX. Muntenia. – The wooden churches are scarce, nonetheless examples from the century are preserved. XVII onwards (Grămeşti, 1664; Slăvuţa-Socoteni, 1684). But already from the end of the century. Romanesque (foundations of basilica in Câmpulung) and Gothic (in the princely palace of Curtea de Argeş) influences can be seen from the 13th or early 14th century, while the churches with a single nave (S. Nicolò in Curtea de Argeş and two churches in Turnu Severin) recall the Byzantine and Bulgarian influence in their stone and brick vestments and in the plant. The princely church (Biserica Domneasc ă) by Curtea de Argeş (v.) with a Greek cross plan. Shortly after the artistic orientation turns towards Serbia (Moravian school), from which derives the triapsidal plan of the churches of Vodiţa, Tismana (1374) and Cozia (1393). Finally, the Greek cross plan with lateral apses and a columned vestibule (Snagov, 1517) comes from Mount Athos. From the various combinations of these influences, types with a local character will result. The metropolitan church (1518) and the princely church (1583) of Târgovişte are due to the combination of the Athos type and the Constantinopolitan type, while the Serbian type, modified with elements of Mount Athos, is responsible for the church of the monastery of Dealu (1500) and the famous construction of the legendary master Manole, the bishop’s church of Argeş (1517).

Certain Moldovan characters also penetrated into the seventeenth and seventeenth centuries, manifest in the speed of the churches and in the Gothic-like profiles of the windows, while from the East comes the open exonarthex with columns, or pillars, and arches (church of the hospital of the monastery of Cozia del 1542, Stelea of ​​1646 and Ss. Imperatori, around 1650, in Târgovişte). During the second half of the 17th century the Constantinopolitan Baroque style developed, amalgamating Italian elements (loggia, columns and cornice) with inflected arches and oriental arabesques, and decorating luxurious palaces (Măgureni, 1667; Potlogi, 1699; Mogoşoaia, 1702), and churches (Hurezi monastery, 1693), persisting throughout the 18th century (Văcăreşti monastery, 1716-1722; Stavropoleos church, 1724-1733, in Bucharest).

The history of Wallachian painting begins with an important set of frescoes, preserved in the princely church of Curtea de Argeş (14th century), where two schools can be distinguished, the Macedonian and the Cretan. After the frescoes in the vestibule of Cozia (end of the 14th century), a dark period follows until around 1526, when the paintings of the bishop’s church of Curtea de Argeş were finished. hospital of the monastery of Cozia, 1542, and church of the monastery of Snagov, around 1550), dominates the Italocretese school, which is maintained until the time of Constantin Brâncoveanu (church of Săcueni, 1655; monastery of Hurezi, end of the century. XVII).

From the simple drawing of these paintings and from the representation with a narrative character, we pass over time to a hieratic style, isolating ourselves more and more each figure, drawn in a decorative way. However, a discreet naturalism penetrates into painting by hand, due to the influence of the Renaissance, which came both directly from Venice and through Transylvania. In the second half of the century. XVIII this naturalism spreads, but without being able to replace Byzantine art.

Romania Figurative Arts