The National Museum of Art of Romania

Discover the works in the European Art Gallery

Rodin worked on this sculpture for nearly two years, between 1875 and 1877. Rather than a professional model, he chose a young Belgian soldier whose physical condition was so good he could sit in awkward, strenous positions up to four hours a day. This way Rodin experimented with postures far from the mainstream of contemporary traditional academic sculpture.

After a visit to Italy to study Classical and Renaissance sculpture directly, Rodin opted for a life-size male nude, standing in a slight contrapposto (180 cm high). His highly naturalistic handling led to the acusation he had taken a mould from life instead of modeling the clay because, Rodin being obliged to ask friends to testify in his favour, having seen him at work. In was only in May 1880 that he managed to convince officials to accept the bronze cast at the Paris Salon.

The museum cast was bought by Queen Marie of Romania, a great admirer of Rodin’s art.

Artwork description
Auguste Rodin
(Paris,1840-Meudon la Forêt, 1917)
French school
Bronze
Height: 180 cm
Inv. 8449/483
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 2nd floor, room 12

Rubens painted the Portrait of Giovanna Spinola Pavese in 1606, during his stay in Genoa. He had been sent there on a mission to portray local aristorcracy by the Duke of Mantua. At the time Genoese aristocrats acted as a consortium of bankers for Spanish monarchs. Portraits were to be used to open the doors of some of the most important people of the day for the Duke of Mantua.

The full-length portrait shows Giovanna Spinola Pavese standing in royal pose, her left hand on the hip implying authority and allowing us to notice the legth of her sleeve and the glittering grey satin silk of its lining. The black dress, the tight bodice and high, pleated collar betray the strong influence of Spanish court fashion. It is not by chance that Giovanna is placed under a triumphal arch covered by climbing roses, her right hand delicately touching the water that springs from a fountain to her right. Such elements are highly indicative of the preference shown by Genoese aristocracy for gardens as a space of ‘natural’ behaviour.

Artwork description
Peter Paul Rubens
(Siegen, Westphalia,1577 - Antwerp, 1642)
Flemish school
Oil on canvas
247 x 147 cm
Inv. 8209/243
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 2nd floor, room 8

Paul Signac’s painting Gate (Saint-Tropez) shows a corner in the garden of the artis’s house close to the seashore. The painter lived in the south of France from 1892 until 1911.

The bed of sunflowers to the left of the image and the vibrant atmosphere suggest a warm summer day. To the right of the picture the artist portrays his wife standing in the shadow, silhouetted against the white sails of a yacht, possibly his own.

Unlike Seurat, whose pointillist and divisionist practice he explained from a theoretical perspective, Signac does not resort exclusively to pure colours. Rather he mixes and applies them with short, juxtaposed touches which build up shapes and picture planes while allowing our eyes to reconstruct colours as we move away from the painting.

The optical blend effectbecomes perceptible upon moving roughly 10 metres away from the painting, a rather long distance compared to the relatively small size of the picture.

Artwork description
Paul Signac
(Paris, 1863-1935)
French school
Oil on canvas
46,5 x 49,5 cm
Inv. 8365/2526
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 2nd floor, room 12
Sign language video
Sign language video

Frans Snyders’ ‘Pilgrims at Emmaus’ is set as a kitchen scene: a young plump servant is sitting at a table on which fruit, vegetable and game are displayed. She smiles to us while emphatically showing the grape she is holding up. In fact she is pointing us to look further into the background, at the inn room where three men are seated at a table. The one in the middle is just blessing the bread, the gesture revealing His identity as Jesus to those with whom He had made the trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus.

The foreground is dominated by all types of food which could be typically encountered at rich men’s tables, from white bread to woodcocks. Such clues are indicative of the social status of those for whom paintings like this one were painted. Early in his career, Snyders had conceived of a complex type of scene in which everyday life is used as a means to convey (or disguise?) deeper religious messages, an approach typical of Flanders in the 17th century.

Artwork description
Frans Snyders
(Antwerpen, 1579-1657)
Flemish school
Oil on canvas
123,7 x 114,3 cm
Inv. 9510/1544
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 2nd floor, room 8

Tintoretto sets the Annunciation, one the most popular religious subjects of the 16th century, inside a contemporary Venetian palazzo. The Archangel Gabriel seems to take the Virgin by surprise, while she was praying at her prie-dieu beside a canopied bed. She looks like a young chaste Venetian aristocrat, her hair and low neck covered with a transparent silk veil. The elongated bodies of the two characters elegantly turn around in a swirl that lendss the composition a spiral movement. The geometric design of the pavement is meant to lead us into the palazoo’s courtyard and then further out into the classical portico and the landscape beyond.

Heavily draped velvet curtains blown by the archangel’s flight form a flexible divide between two worlds, the Divine and the secular. The foreground seems presided by the white dove above, representing the Holy Spirit.

However, in the lower left corner as we look at the painting, a coiled cat gazes outside the picture space as if willing to draw our attention that we are priviledged to watch a double miracle: the Annunciation and the representation by Tintoretto of a holy moment no mortal had witnessed.

Artwork description
Jacopo Robusti TINTORETTO
(Venice, 1518-1594)
Italian school
Oil on canvas
100 x 124 cm
Inv. 9543/1577
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 1st floor, room 2
Sign language video
Sign language video

Landscape with Haystacks belongs to Vlaminck’s mature years. The artist’s Fauvism is rather unusual given his penchant for austere colours and a spontaneous, vivid, highly emotional brushwork.

Vlaminck often painted landscapes with haystacks resorting to a similar composition scheme. To the left, the low horizon line is interrupted by two massive stacks, drawn by long touches of the brush. The dark greish-blue sky seems to tumble down onto the earth, foretelling an iminent storm. A free brushwork lends the image an almost expressionist dramatic character. This singles out Vlaminck’s creation in relation to that of other Fauve painters like Derain and Matisse reserving him a special place in the history of painting during the first half of the 20th century.

Artwork description
Maurice de Vlaminck
(Paris, 1876 - Rueil la Gadelière, 1958)
French school
Oil on canvas
33,4 x 41,5 cm
Inv. nr. 83928/2526
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 2nd floor, room 12