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Horses in painting

Cai_in_pictura_MUnder the title “Horses in painting”, Romfilatelia invites you to rediscover the beauty of the Romanian painting from the heritage of the National Museum of Art of Romania, offering thus an overall view on the relationship between man and this noble animal, represented by great Romanian painters indifferent backgrounds.
Romanian painter and teacher, posthumous member of the Romanian Academy (1948), Ioan Andreescu (1850-1882), who was considered by Octavian Paler a painter of the earth, managed to give to the posterity, before leaving this world prematurely, an impressive creation. Student of the School of Fine Arts led by Theodor Aman and of the Julian Academy in Paris, Andreescu started to work as a drawing teacher in Buzau, and spent his summers painting in Barbizon. If in the beginning of his career, the works of the Romanian painter had authenticity, in the last years of his stay in France he appeared edified, master of his means, building spaces with a chromatic subtlety which only the perfect technical ease can give. In Andreescu’s paintings there is no sun, the light springing from the very matter transposed onto canvas. Despite the apparent cold that it radiates, Andreescu’s creation is full of warmth, which has led critics to see in his painting a mixture of truth and dreaming. The paintings The ploughing (detail illustrated on the postage stamp with the face value of lei 3.60) and The large road (detail reproduced on the illustrated border of the minisheet of 4 stamps), influenced by Gustave Courbet’s realistic paintings, are characterized by a panoramic view, by a hot-cold colour-based contrast, but also by a composition in which space is sovereign. Equally interested by different genres of painting, Andreescu created landscapes, portraits and still lives.
Romanian modern painting founder and one of the 20th century’s artists who tried to highlight the most important values of the Romanian spirituality, Nicolae Grigorescu (1838-1907) remains one of the main representatives, being influenced by European Impressionism. After an early apprenticeship in the workshop of the Czech painter Anton Chladek, Grigorescu decorated and painted icons for many monasteries in the country. Receiving a scholarship in Paris, he studied at the School of Belle-Arte, and after that he joined the members of the Barbizon School. Influenced by this artistic environment, he had contact with both impressionism and realism promoted by the movement of Barbizon. Concerned with the acquisition of innovative artistic ways, the artist chose the impressionist colours and painted “en plein-air”. In 1877, he was called to accompany the Romanian Army as a “frontline painter”, creating drawings and sketches on the spot, in battles at Grivita and Rahova. Made during the war of independence, the works Mounted Ranger Officer (detail illustrated on the postage stamp with the face value of lei 8.10) and The Spy (detail reproduced on the illustrated border of the minisheet of 4 stamps) were influenced by Theodore Gericault’s painting. The dynamism of the scenes, painted in a moment full of tension, give to the painter the opportunity to express his artistry. In 1899, he received the title of member of honour of the Romanian Academy. With a formation in which we can recognize the traditional way of painted murals and the impressionists’ experience, Grigorescu embraces all artistic genres. The overwhelming influence  he had on his contemporaries marked the evolution of the following generation, his painting creating a tradition with a huge influence.
Romanian painter and illustrator of German origin, Rudolf Schweitzer-Cumpana (1886-1975) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris. Gifted designer with a keen sense of observation, Schweitzer-Cumpana painted portraits, landscapes and scenes from the peasant life, in different techniques (oil, water colours and drawing, mainly in coal) in a sometimes realistic vision and sometimes impressionist. The painting Peasant with a carriage, (detail illustrated on the postage stamp with the face value of lei 9.10) painted in a warm colour gamut based on the hot-cold contrast, recalls through its strokes, as well as through its chromatic exuberance of the Impressionist experience. His palette is warm, in deep and profound tones. About him, Nicolae Iorga wrote: “There is a struggle in this soul that is totally original, capable of great work, an honest and fruitful struggle. Nothing he does is like the others but not because he wants it so, but because it’s absolutely necessary to his soul (…). From this painter we can expect a new formula of the realities of our land.”
Romanian painter of Armenian origin, Nutzi Acontz (1894-1957) created many Dobrudjan landscapes with a chromatic refinement covering a broad range, which distinguishes and individualizes her. The work The Horse Shoeing (detail reproduced on the illustrated border of the minisheet of 4 stamps), done in a cool palette, is done en plein-air, full of the freshness and spontaneity of details. The rigorous composition establishes the artist among the great masters of the interwar Romanian painting. Her body of work is made up of creations scattered in art collections across the country and abroad.
Called the artistic poet of the flowers, Stefan Luchian (1868-1916) “marked the distinctive personality of the Romanian art throughout Europe, drawing inspiration from traditional medieval church frescoes and folk art, contouring and simplifying planes and flattening volumes” (Adina Nanu). Stefan Luchian signed up for painting class in 1885, at the National School of Fine Arts, and then continued his studies in Germany and France. To the technique of oil painting Luchian added pastels, for landscapes and for the many still lives with flowers, in which he reached an unrivalled craftsmanship. The fluidity of contours, the velvety softness of the petals, were evoked best through pastels. Luchian’s “flowers” have that almost dramatic intensity of feeling, that inner light, that serious simplicity that make from many of them true masterpieces – it is enough to mention The Anemones. Less known to art lovers, the work The Amazon (detail illustrated on the First Day Cover) is characterized by diaphanous colour combinations, by the symbiosis between horse and rider and the spontaneity of the notation. The overall impression is crucial to the artist and provides uniqueness to his work. The painter Stefan Luchian was a pioneer, through his attempt to impose his own style in the Romanian painting.

Romfilatelia thanks the National Museum of Art of Romania for their documentary support granted in the accomplishment of this postage stamp issue.

Issue date: 2015-07-21


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