I would like to present you two beautiful Neo-Romanian style wooden picture frames, dating from the early 1910s at a time when the mature phase of Romania’s national style was hugely gaining in popularity, following the success of the Bucharest Great Jubilee Exhibition of 1906 when the new national style of Romania was showcased to the wider public. These fine artefacts are part of architect Madalin Ghigeanu’s collection of documents and objects of Romanian history, to whom I am grateful for allowing the publication of their photographs on this blog. The motifs craved on the frames are an encyclopaedia of Neo-Romanian style decoration: the Byzantine arch, short rope motif columns, ethnographic solar discs, patterns taken from peasant embroideries, etc. Fittingly the frames now host autographed photographs of Queen Marie, Romania’s British Queen, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, in peasant costume, one of the iconic promoters of the Neo-Romanian style since its first years, especially in the field of interior and furniture design, gardening, fashion and painting.
The picture frame above reminds me of a book cover design, which I reviewed on this blog (click here to access article), where a similar pair of column span the Byzantine arch. I like the exquisite solar discs, ever present in Romanian ethnography, and the suggestion of a three-lobed broken arch inspired from the Brancovan church architecture that is carved along the opening of the frame.
The columns in the second example show an abstract rectangular-like configuration of the rope motif, popular in the building architecture, used for wall friezes, and inspired from Curtea de Arges cathedral‘s c16th designs. The solar discs are composed from the customary six rays, an ancestral motif encountered in Indo-European ethnography from Sri Lanka to Ireland, while remaining field is filled with patterns inspired from the embroderies that embellish the Romanian peasant costumes.