WAR BETWEEN MYTH AND ART

The Bucharest Municipality Museum has an invaluable patrimony of great potential. After the exhibition Unifying Physiognomies, we are now offering the public, especially the young one, a selection of our Pinacotheque’s most relevant pieces on World War I and the Centenary. We consider that this moment that we are all living, the celebration of 100 years since the end of the First World War and the founding of Great Romania, is one of historical value that deserves to be carefully explained to teenagers. Because of this, the exhibition we offer is focused on the young public and on our endeavor to explain to them, in their own language, the importance of this episode in Romania’s history.

Although it may seem strange, we have also preserved the memory of this war through art. Paintings, sculptures and drawings have immortalized a side of this event that now helps us better understand it. What I mean by this is that it is important to know that works of art preserve within themselves not just a “collection of matter”, but also emotions, feelings and the context from back then. The selection of works on display speaks about a war depicted from a point of view other than that of pain, a point of view of the continuity of what was before and the continuity given by people themselves. Have we turned World War I into a myth? If so, how and why? Or maybe, have old myths attached themselves to this moment so profoundly that we do not even see them anymore?

The idea of this exhibition is that certain works of art created after the end of the war go back to classical mythology to reveal myths such as Niobe and Prometheus as founding bases of the artistic mindset of Great Romania. The identification with mythological figures was a common practice, but what was being mythologized were historical figures such as Michael the Brave or Vlad the Impaler. From an artistic point of view, we are not certain what myths we have actually taken over and what their origins were. With regards to this subject, the patrimony of the Bucharest Municipal Pinacotheque has helped in opening a new perspective of analysis on war. We intent to understand the problem and to equally find out if myths have been a source for the Great War.

PhD cand date, Delia Marinescu

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