May 012010

Versiune în română

Today is Theme Day at the City Daily Photo community, a monthly event that happens the first day of every month, when all participating blogs will post a picture that relates to the theme day’s description. Today’s theme is: Statues. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

I had great plans for this theme day. I was to go and photograph some statues that would fit in both with theme day and with the May Day aka International Workers’ Day (which celebrates the legal establishment of the 8-hour working day, something that we today hold as a given but which wasn’t always so). I know a few statues in Bucharest that can be used to express both these ideas. But … I got stuck in the house with a bad cold so instead of what I planned I’m giving you Atlas, sitting among flowers in Cişmigiu Park. The only thing I’m not sure about is if this qualifies as a statue or it’s better defined as a sculpture.

Apr 142010

Versiune în română

The fourth statue located in the University Square is that of Ion Heliade Rădulescu, “Romanian academic, Romantic and Classicist poet, essayist, memoirist, short story writer, newspaper editor and politician”, “prolific translator of foreign literature into Romanian”, “founding member and first president of the Romanian Academy”. The marble statue shows him holding a book in his hand, a fitted portrayal considering that he “is considered one of the foremost champions of Romanian culture of the first half of the 19th century”. The statue is the work of the Italian sculptor Ettore Ferrari and was unveiled in 1881.

Apr 132010

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Two days ago I found out from comments on this blog that the University Square is soon going to be dug because of a underground parking lot which is supposed to solve all the parking problems of Bucharest (yeah, right, and I’m about to land on Moon). So I thought I’ll post a few more pictures from the square before it’s forever changed by construction work. I’ve posted pictures of two of the four statues located in the square (Spiru Haret and Gheorghe Lazăr) and today’s photographs introduce another one, the bronze equestrian statue of Michael the Brave (1558 – 1601), prince of Wallachia, of Transylvania and of Moldavia. He’s regarded as one of Romania’s greatest heros for ruling as a single leader over the three provinces that make up present day Romania. He achieved this in 1600 and the union lasted only six months. The three provinces only came together again in 1918. The statue dates from 1874 and is the work of the French sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887). It’s the oldest statue in Bucharest representing a political personality.

Mar 072010

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I’ve talked before about Cişmigiu Park, one of my favorite places in Bucharest. It’s a lovely park where I always find something to photograph. In my previous posts about Cişmigiu – which can be found under the namesake tag – I’ve showed you some of its landmarks. Today I’m adding two more photos to this collection, both of the same statue, called The Black Woman ( “Negresa” in Romanian, bearing no offensive connotation). I’m guessing it is called like that because of its color, because the subject doesn’t really have the features of a black woman. In one of my books on Bucharest I’ve seen it called “The Nymph of the Lake” but I didn’t hear anyone using this name.

Jan 182010

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Out of the four statues in the University Square, the one in today’s photograph is the one that seems to agree by far with the square’s pigeons. In fact, the last few times I passed through the square there were no pigeons on any of the other three statues. The statue is that of Spiru Haret (February 15, 1851 – December 17 1912), mathematician, astronomer, professor and politician, who served as the Minister of Education three terms and brought reforms that helped build the Romanian education system. The statue is by Ion Jalea and was placed in the square in 1935.

Jan 162010

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Because one of the photos from the “Winter in the park” series has raised some questions I decided to show the entire work of art that contains that statue, work that was clipped by my framing. The ensemble is called “The Alley of the Cariatides” by Constatin Baraschi (November 17, 1902 – March 22, 1966) and consists of two strings of 10 statues on each side of the alley. The statues represent Romanian peasant women, dressed in traditional clothing and carrying an amphora on their heads. There are two types of statues and they are differentiated by the position of their hands. The work was unveiled in 1936 but what we see today is not the original, which was destroyed during communism to make space for a statue of Stalin, but a reconstruction done in 2005 using the original molds. I don’t know how correct this information is but I’ve also read on the web that “The Alley of the Cariatides” caused quite a stir when it was originally unveiled, stir determined by two facts: first, that this was a classical arrangement but the subjects were peasants and second, the fact that the peasants were barefoot.

Jan 142010

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One of the attractions in Herăstrău park is the small “Island of roses” which can be reached via two arched bridges. There, among flowerbeds and walking alleys you can find the “Monument of the Founding Fathers of the European Union”, a collection of 12 sculpted heads arranged in a circle, each statue about 1.2 meters tall, and showing like its name says, the famous people involved in the founding of the EU. Their author is the artist Ionel Stoicescu and the monument was unveiled on Europe Day, May 9, 2006 when Romania was still a candidate to join the EU. More photos from the island following:

Jan 052010

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With the arrival of the new snow, all the statues in the city have received white blankets to protect themselves from the cold. Such is the case of the statue in today’s photo, one of the four statues located in University Square, representing Gheorghe Lazăr (June 5, 1779 – September 17, 1821) a Transylvanian-born Romanian scholar who founded the first Romanian language school in Bucharest in 1818. The statue was executed in 1886 by the sculptor Ion Georgescu.

Jan 012010

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Today is Theme Day at the City Daily Photo community, a monthly event that happens the first day of every month, when all participating blogs will post a picture that relates to the theme day’s description. Today’s theme is: Changes. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Once again I will tell you a story that has to do with the communist dictatorship that has ruled over Romania for over 40 years. I know this topic shows up a lot in my posts but that’s only because it’s part of recent history and it left marks on Bucharest and its people that are still visible.

When the communists came to power in 1945 they took down all the statues of kings and famous politicians in an attempt to erase the memories of a past that was not linked to their ideology. Most of them were destroyed, melted away. But the wheel of history rolls on, and eventually it came the turn of communists to give up power and to have their statues removed from public display. The statue of Lenin that you can see in today’s theme photo was taken down in 1989 when the communist dictatorship came to an end, and these days is slowly degrading behind the summer kitchen of Mogoşoaia Palace, located 10km northwest of Bucharest. It once stood in front of the House of the Press, called Casa Scânteii during communism, now the House of the Free Press. I would call this quite a change of location 🙂 The other statue that you see in the photo is of Petru Groza, the first communist ruler of Romania.