Europe, Romania, Wallachia

Tirgu Jiu, Brancusi’s monumental city

No Comments 19 August 2010

Tirgu Jiu, Brancusi’s monumental city

As part of his 2002 tour of Romania, the Monkey paid homage to one of the great sculptors of the 20th Century—Constantin Brancusi—by visiting his birth place, Tirgu Jiu. The set piece war memorial Brancusi had created for his hometown was under restoration, but the Monkey snapped some photos nonetheless.


Cathedral, Tirgu Jiu, Wallachia, Romania
Tirgu Jiu is a small city about sixty kilometers northeast of Drobeta. The Monkey stopped off there to see some of the public works by Tirgu Jiu’s most famous son, sculptor Constantin Brancusi. Between walks to see the sculptures, the Monkey paused for a photo by the city’s rather miniscule cathedral. It was the Monkey’s first run-in with a Romanian painted church, but not his last: in Horezu, where he went next, he found even more impressive specimens.

Brancusi Endless Column, Tirgu Jiu, Wallachia, Romania
Constantin Brancusi was born near Tirgu Jiu, educated as an artist in Bucharest, and made his name in Paris in the 1900s. He is credited with revolutionizing sculpture, giving it a modern, abstract voice. In the 1920s, Brancusi also taught another modern sculptor, the Japanese-American Isamu Noguchi.

Throughout his career Brancusi revisited the theme of a so-called Endless Column, a repeating geometric pattern. Here, the Monkey visits what must be the tallest rendition of the Endless Column, in Tirgu Jiu. The Monkey requests that any comments about the column not being endless be kept to oneself.

Brancusi Avenue of Seats, Tirgu Jiu, Wallachia, Romania
In Tirgu Jiu, where he grew up, Brancusi created the Avenue of the Seats as part of a memorial for the Romanian dead of World War I. When the Monkey visited in 2002, the works were being restored. But that didn’t stop him from enjoying the riverside park in which the sculptures reside.

Brancusi Table of Silence, Tirgu Jiu, Wallachia, Romania
Brancusi’s Table of Silence (also under restoration in this photo) is part of the same war memorial that includes the Avenue of the Seats and another work, the Gate of the Kiss (under so much scaffolding that the Monkey didn’t bother stopping for a photo). The Endless Column is almost two kilometers away, but Brancusi included it as part of the memorial. Always concerned with spatial relations, it is thought that he intended the distance (and in human terms, the walking time) between the works to signify the human lifespan—apropos indeed in a war memorial.



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Romania

   FAST FACTS


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Population:

22,246,862 (2008)

Land area:

230,340 sq. km.

Capital:

Bucharest (pop. 2,351,000; 2005)

Economy:

In 2006, Romania ranked 64th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 42nd in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $5,645.24. Public debt accounts for 13 percent of total GDP, while 25 percent of Romanians are beneath the poverty line.

Main language(s):

Romanian

Monkey's name:

Maimuta

Fun fact:

During World War II, Axis-allied Romania helped the Nazi armies attack the Soviet Union in the hopes of reclaiming Bessarabia, a territory with historical linkages to Romania (among others). When the Soviets repelled the attacks and invaded Romania in 1944, Romania’s King Michael had a sudden change of heart and switched sides, joining the Allies. Angry over the betrayal, Hitler launched air strikes on Romania while the Soviet Red Army was still advancing on Bucharest, leaving Romania temporarily at war with both sides!



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