The National Museum of Art of Romania

Discover the works in the Romanian Modern Art Gallery

From 1926 until 1928 Dimitrie Paciurea was apparently haunted by various unsettling images. This is when most of the Chimeras were produced, their individual titles hinting to mixed mythologies that blend in the ancient with the artist’s deeply personal fears and anguish.

Of the ancient imagery associated with chimeras, the Chimera of the earth retains the lion paws and the coiled snake’s tail, the goat head being replaced with that of a woman. The monstruous hybrid creature seems to borrow from Greek mythology as well as from Romanian folklore. The muscular neck and the short, stout body, its belly lying flat on the ground, suggest a beast incapable to break away from it. The skillful, soft modelling and perfect finish of the bronze are among the most important lessons Paciurea passed on to his students at the Bucharest School of Fine Arts.

Such technical qualities continue to be the trademark of Paciurea, a sculptor whose subject matter was often associated to symbolism, while overall visual effects are reminiscent of expressionism.

Artwork description
Dimitrie Paciurea
(Bucharest, 1873-1932)
54 x 33 x 58 cm
Inv. 1302
Artwork location
Romanian Modern Art Gallery , room 5

Flowers by the Window was painted sometime between 1924 and 1926, soon after Pallady had moved to 12, Place Dauphine. The square, where Brâncuşi had also lived for a while, was a highly reputable address in central Paris.

The studio window frames a still-life consisting of a flower pot and a newspaper, which take up the foreground. As we gaze into the distance, we see the banks of the Seine, the left side of the river and the city rooftops. The painting’s metaphor reveals itself in the contrast between foreground and background, between the inside and the outside. For Pallady, the cozyness of his little studio and the colours of the flower pot are more than enough on a rainy, monotonous day.

From the late 19th c. until 1939, Pallady lived and work most of the time in Paris. During his study years in the studio of Gustave Moreau he had befriended Henry Matisse. This friendship also resulted in Matisse’s famous painting “The Romanian Blouse” at the Museum of Modern Art (Centre Pompidou) in Paris.

Artwork description
Theodor Pallady
(Iaşi, 1871 - Bucharest, 1956)
Oil on canvas
61,5 x 50 cm
Inv. 90.422/9968
Artwork location
Romanian Modern Art Gallery , room 4
Sign language video
Sign language video

The painting was executed in Paris, where Rosenthal joined the exiled Romanian revolutionaries, following the toppling down of the Wallachian uprising by Ottoman troups. It is an allegorical representation of the social and national ideals many European intellectuals held for their respective peoples and countries. The painting shows Maria Rosetti turned to her left, dagger in one hand, Romanian flag in the other.

Wife of C. A. Rosetti, whom Rosenthal had befriended during their study years in Vienna, Mary, née Grant, was of a romantic, southern disposition despite her Scottish origin. She played an essential role in setting the Romanian revolutionaries free following their inprisonment abord an Ottoman ship on the Danube. Her dedication and energy were an inspiration and turned her into a symbol of the revolutionary uprising in Wallachia. Little wonder that the Budapest-born Rosenthal made her into his muse.

The painting shows her dressed in the Romanian folk costume she disguised herself in while following the ship on which the Romanians were held hostage. The pathos of her posture is inspired by various romantic compositions Rosenthal was familiar with.

We can catch a glimpse of Maria Rosetti’s face in a small medalion in the middle of a still-life by Rosenthal. Could it be that the painter’s admiration for her was deeper that he could have openly admitted?

Artwork description
Constantin Daniel Rosenthal
(Budapest, 1820-1851)
Oil on canvas
78,5 x 63,5 cm
Inv. 275
Artwork location
Romanian Modern Art Gallery, mezzanine floor

The Forest Ranger’s Daughter counts among Tonitza’s most popular paintings. It was done sometime between 1924 and1926, a time when the artist was sympathetically exploring the universe of children, projecting onto them his own feelings. Like most of his portraits this one too seems intent on decoding the sitter’s gaze. Though turned toward the painter, the girl is deeply engrossed in a world of her own, as if looking into herself, in a contemplative, melancholic mood. Her inner world is hardly accessible to anyone but herself.

Far from any photographic rendition, the girl’s portrait plays the card of a stark contrast between the red dress and the green foliage surrounding her, the oak leaves interspersed here and there with touches of blue and orange. Two leaves descend on the collar of the dress and draw our attention to Tonitza’s masterly passage from the foreground to the background while breaking the decorative rhythm of the foliage.

Artwork description
Nicolae Tonitza
(Bârlad, 1886 - Bucharest, 1940)
Oil on canvas/board
63 x 53,5 cm
Inv. 68.560/7245
Artwork location
Romanian Modern Art Gallery , room 9