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At the Royal Art Museum

At the Royal Art Museum.

BY JULIE SEYLER

We arrived home from Romania, and the sidebar excursions to Paris and London, around midnight Saturday, October 18. I have started culling the 3500 photos I took, and was brought back to the afternoon we spent wandering the National Art Museum in Bucharest. Architecturally, it is a testament to 19th century palatial elegance.

Postcard of National Art Museum 1937-38.

Postcard of National Art Museum 1937-38.

It was built between 1812 to 1815 (the approximate time the U.S. was engaged in the War of 1812 with Great Britain). It started as a private residence, was taken over by royalty in 1834, housed the seat of the State Council during the reign of Nicolae Ceausescu, and opened as an art museum in 2000. Its collection ranges from embroidered tapestries dating to the 14th century to paintings by European masters like Lucas Cranach the Elder and Rembrandt to sculptures by its native son, Constantin Brancusi, and others I never heard of.

Venus and Cupid by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Venus and Cupid by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Emroidery with silver gilt thread Neamt Monastery 14th century?

Emroidery with silver gilt thread Neamt Monastery, 14th century?

The Chimera of Air  by Dimitrie Pachurea 1873-1922

The Chimera of Air by Dimitrie Pachurea 1873-1922.

But one of the best unexpected finds was the grand staircase leading up to the European galleries:

stairs at the Royal Art Museum Bucharest

It had endless angles …

stairs 6

… and curves to explore.

National art museum stairs 1

It was like looking at a giant heart:

stairs7