Perhaps many of you have had the opportunity to admire the works of art of Constantin Brancusi from Targu-Jiu. The Column of Infinite (Coloana Infinitului), The Table of Silence (Masa Tacerii) and The Gate of the Kiss (Poarta sarutului) are among the most famous works of art in Romania, being made by Brancusi in 1937 at the invitation of the National League of Women in Targu-Jiu. They wanted to dedicate a monument to the country’s heroes fallen in the First World War.
Constantin Brancusi, born on February 19th, 1876 in Hobita, Gorj county, discovers the art of sculpture since childhood, starting from tools and objects used in the household. His childhood was marked by frequent departures from home to join various dye-works (painting houses) as an apprentice or different shops. After attending the School of Arts and Craft in Craiova, Brancusi comes to Bucharest to enrol the National School of Fine Arts. During his studentship he creates various works of art for which he is awarded at numerous competitions and exhibitions. In 1903 he receives his first order, the bust of the General Medic Carol Davila. This work is the only public monument made by Constantin Brancusi in Bucharest and is even now exhibited in the courtyard of the Central Military Hospital in Bucharest. The following year he leaves to Paris, attracted by the avant-garde work of Auguste Rodin and others. Brancusi decides to leave by foot to Paris, stopping in different cities along the way, such as: Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Basel etc.
In Paris, he enters the entourage of various artists who come to appreciate his work and personality. He succeeds to fulfil his dream and to work in the studio of Auguste Rodin, through the intervention of Queen Elisabeth of Romania. But after two months he leaves the studio saying that: “Nothing can grow in the shade of large trees". Although he used to work in gyps to then pour his works in bronze, he returns to what he loved most: chopping wood, marble or stone.
His works are characterized by simplicity and they capture the essence of different organic forms in nature. Brancusi was also inspired by the folk art and life in the country side, taking over the simplicity and the love for nature. These things are reflected in his works in Targu-Jiu. Sculptures such as: The Kiss (Sarutul), Bird in Space (Pasarea in vazduh), Miss Pogany (Domnisoara Pogany), The Sleeping Muse (Muza Adormita), The Wisdom of the Earth (Cumintenia pamantului), brought Constantin Brancusi a worldwide renown, being appreciated especially in France. He had a series of exhibitions in the United States, France, Switzerland, Holland, England and Romania.
Unfortunately, once the communist regime is brought to Romania, Brancusi is considered an enemy of the regime and he is prohibited from reentering the country. Despite this, he will bequeath his entire work to the Romanian state, which in return refuses and, consequently, his work will be gladly accepted by France. His works can be admired at the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris (Centre Pompidou).
Currently, for Romania, Constantin Brancusi is one of the greatest ambassadors of the Romanian culture and values. He is celebrated and appreciated especially in Targu-Jiu, where his work is visited every year by thousands of tourists and is rightfully deemed a national symbol.