The Magic of Lines (Ligia Macovei and Eminescu’s Lyricism)






From March 21st to September 22nd 2019, the Museum that hosts the “Ligia and Pompiliu Macovei” Art Collection (“the 11th of June” Street, No. 36-38) will organize a thematic exhibition dedicated to Ligia Macovei, the artist who created some of the most valuable illustrations in Romanian graphic arts, unanimously praised especially for their visual depictions of Mihai Eminescu’s work.

The drawings selected to be featured in this exhibition are the ones illustrating the masterpieces of Eminescu’s oeuvre, such as: The Years Have Gone By…, Among the Peaks, The Wish, Among Hundreds of Masts, The Forest’s Rustling, The 1st Letter, Emperor and Proletarian or Călin – Pages of a Story.

Ligia Macovei started to take inspiration from Eminescu’s work ever since 1950, when she participated at the “Annual State Exhibition” with two gouache works inspired by the poem Călin – Pages of a Story. In 1954 she published her first illustrated book: Sleepy Birds. After Poems by Mihai Eminescu was published in 1964, a series of translations of the poet’s works soon followed which were largely illustrated by Ligia Macovei. For her work on Mihai Eminescu’s Poems, in 1964 she was awarded a special mention at the Leipzig book fair, one of the most prestigious book fairs in Europe.

Through her admirable, profoundly suggestive depictions, Ligia Macovei breathed life into the eminescian universe using the simplest form of graphic expression: the line. Profoundly investigative of the surreal poetic universe, her drawings metamorphose in a magical creation, the art of illustrating poetry being, in fact, the most sophisticated way of translating the word into a graphic form.

Without formal prejudices, with grace and imagination, the artist managed to convey the essence of poetic meditation in a graphic form, sometimes symbolic, other times spontaneous. The unique tone of the eminescian lyrical work metamorphoses in a melancholic figurative, convincingly directed by the graphic line. For example, for the poem The Years Have Gone By, Ligia Macovei created the image of a human face that is composing and decomposing at the same time, suggesting the passage of time which marks our ephemeral existence.

A student of Master Al. J. Steriadi and painter Cecilia Cuțescu Storck, Ligia Macovei’s exceptional series of drawings, brought back in the public eye inside her very own house, fully reflects her great drawing skills.  

Dr.  Elena Olariu

Assistant Manager – Art Department