The National Museum of Art of Romania

The exhibition celebrates King Ferdinand and Queen Marie, two of the founding figures of Greater Romania. The selection highlights the role of painting, sculpture and graphic arts in shaping the country’s identity, of which the Royal family is an integral part.

Many of the paintings and sculptures are official portraits and embody an ethos which permeated the national discourse shaped during the interwar period, a discourse also visible in the decoration of the Throne Hall in the Royal Palace in Bucharest. Portraits on display are the work of well-known Romanian and foreign artists (Milița Pătrașcu, Ipolit Strâmbu, Nicolae Vermont, Costin Petrescu, and Philip de Laszlo, Alfred Schwartz, Albertine Ruprecht respectively). The sitters’ postures and body language shed light on the idiom official portraiture used a century ago, while their outfits are clearly indicative of their position as rulers (crown, sceptre, ermine cloak) or in the army. As far as Queen Marie is concerned, the Romanian folk costume takes centre stage. The portraits thus reveal how important visual art mechanisms are in shaping collective memory and in fostering strong, long-lasting emotional ties.

The selection also includes watercolour sketches made by Queen Marie alongside contemporary press clippings from the archive of sculptor Alexandru Severin. Whereas the studies of flowers, geometric and symbolic elements, reveal the Queen's keen interest in Art Nouveau, the press collages add a genuine documentary dimension to an exhibition which takes a deep plunge into the history of modern Romania and its century-old official portraiture.

Partners: Ferdinand I National Military Museum, The Romanian Peasant Museum, "Costin Petrescu" Memorial House, Romanian Academy Library

Curator: Alina Petrescu
National Gallery – Ground floor
Visiting hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00 -18.00
Last admission: 17.30
Free entrance