BĂLĂCESCU, Constantin







CRITICAL REVIEW


        Constantin Bălăcescu’s sculpture is situated at the confluence of late classicism and naturalism, integrating multiple elements of the complicated aesthetics of the 1900s. If initially he exhibits also copies (after Canova and Roman antic sculptures), Constantin Bălăcescu makes several original works, expression heads representing venetian typologies (Venetian Woman Head, MNAR, or Bust of Old Garibaldian, Dante’s bust). He is the author of numerous reliefs with an antic theme (some probably copies), among which Faustina Imperatrice Romana, 1893 (lost), or a historical one - Mihai Viteazul Entering Alba Iulia, after a painting by Constantin Lecca. A successful portraitist of his time, Constantin Bălăcescu does busts of contemporary politicians or culture people, executed with professionalism and sometimes with sensibility - singer Elena Theodorini (Carrara marble, 1901), Grigore Cobălcescu (marble, 1903), Gheorghe Chiţu (bronze, 1903). He is interested in psychological typologies, at the limit between realism and symbolism, as we can see from titles such as Pride, Sâc or Happy Smoker. The Tudor Vladimirescu monument at Târgu-Jiu, still there at present, is characteristic for the end of the 19th century eclecticism, in which symbolic, historical and realist elements fuse, both as subjects and as formal solutions - the inspiration for the well-known portrait of Theodor Aman, an heteroclite mix of symbolic-ornamental elements that complete the plinth. The plinth is made from uncut stone, a cliff, to be more precise, and it can be interpreted as a polemic with classicism. The monument was so notorious, that even Brancusi drew it in one of his youth sketch notebooks. 

Ioana Vlasiu
 


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    BIOGRAPHY

    (Balboși, Gorj, 1865 - Bucharest, 1913)

    Academic studies:
    until 1887 - Arts and Crafts School, Craiova;
    1889 - 1892 - Arts and Crafts School, Venice, Italy;
    1892 - 1894 - Venice Fine Arts Academia with Luigi Ferrari;
    1894 - 1897 - Milano Fine Arts Academia  (his works are frequently mentioned in the press).
     
    Professional activity:
    1897 - 1906 - works at Milano, Italy;
    since 1906 - professor at Belle-Arte School, Bucharest;
    1911 - transferred at Belle-Arte School in Iaşi.
     


    PROJECTS

    Monumental works:
    1898 - Tudor Vladimirescu (Carrara marble), Târgu Jiu, Gorj;
    1899 - Monument of Mircea cel Bătrân, Tulcea;
    1903 - Bust of Gheorghe Chițu (bronze);
             - Bust of Grigore Cobălcescu (marble);
             - Bust of Alexandru Ioan Cuza;
    1904 - Monument of Independence, Tulcea;
    1905 - 1906 - Monument of Sofia Mavrodin;
                        - Marble bust representing type and wear in the Gorj Mountain;
                        - The fight at Călugăreni, bas-relief.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs, I, Paris, 1966.
    Fundația Culturală META, Un secol de sculptură românească. Dicționar A-D. Colecția Sinteze, Editura META, 2001, pp. 50 - 51.
    Thieme-Becker; Theime, Ulrich; Becker, Felix (hrsg.), Allegemeines Lexikon der Blidenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, II, Verlag von E.A. Seemann, Leipzig, 1908.

    Florea, Vasile, Arta românească modernă şi contemporană, Editura Meridiane, Bucureşti, 1982, p. 228, 290.     
    Frunzetti, Ion, Popescu, M., Scurtă istorie a artelor plastice în R.P.R., II, Bucureşti, 1958.
    Niculescu, R., Saur 8, 1994 - Colecţia artistică a Statului din Palatul Ateneului, Bucureşti, 1915, p. 19.
    Oprescu, G., Sculptura românească, Bucureşti, 1965, pp. 73 - 75.
    Rezeanu, P., Le Sculpteur C.B., în „Historica”, nr. 2, 1971, p.287-316; id., Artele plastice în Oltenia, Craiova, 1980, pp. 49 - 56.