The National Museum of Art of Romania
Mural painting – Self-portrait by Pârvu Mutu
Artwork description
Fragment from the church in Bordeşti
Pârvu Mutu (1657 – 1735)
Mural ‘a fresco’ painting
105 x 104 cm
Wallachia 1699
Inv. 1513
Artwork location
Romanian Medieval Art Gallery, room 6


The fresco fragment from the church in Bordeşti (Vrancea County) shows a mature man holding a painting brush in his right hand and a shell used to mix colours in his left hand. He is seconded by a younger man who stands behind him. From this we can conjecture this is the portrait master painter Pârvu Mutu, the author of the painting at Bordești. Brush and shell are indicative of his trade, one that had earned him social respectability in a world ready to allow certain master painters to abandon their anonymous status, long time a rule in post-Byzantine tradition.

Portraits such as this signal substantial changes underway as stronger professional guilds and an increasingly more nuanced layering of Romanian society slowly replaced the medieval mentality.

 

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