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News 23 Nov 17

Romania Pushes Again for UNESCO to Honour Sculptures

Romania is set to ask UNESCO to reconsider including a famous set of sculptures by the Romanian-French artist Constantin Brancusi on its World Heritage list.

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
The Endless Column. Photo: Fireeyes/Flikr

Romania is set to re-submit its application in early 2018 for UNESCO to include an 80-year-old sculptural ensemble by French-Romanian artist Constantin Brancusi in its world patrimony, two years after the first application had to be withdrawn due to mistakes in the documentation.

The application has been finalized and it will be sent to UNESCO in February, the Targu Jiu municipality announced on Tuesday night.

Romania was forced to withdraw the first application after a negative report from the International Committee for Monuments and Sites, a consultative body with UNESCO, which recommended rejection.

The report said the main problems concerned mapping the sculptures as an ensemble rather than as separate pieces.

Table of Silence. Photo: Emilian Vicol/Flikr

The ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși at Târgu Jiu, southwest Romania, was erected in 1938 and is dedicated to Romanian soldiers who died in the First World War.

It includes four sculptures: the Table of Silence – a limestone round table with 12 hourglass shaped stools, symbolizing the table at which the combatants sat down before confronting battle, the Gate of the Kiss -  a triumphal arch, symbolizing the triumph of life over death, the Alley of Chairs - a series of dwarf-sized stone stools grouped in threes on both sides of the avenue in Targu Jiu Central Park, and the main piece, the Endless Column – a 30-metre column of zinc, brass-clad, cast-iron modules threaded onto a steel spine. They are located on a 1,300-metre axis from west to east, united by the town’s Heroes Avenue.

The Gate of Kiss and Alley of Chairs. Photo: Inraul06/Flikr

The ensemble is deemed one of the great works of 20th-century outdoor sculpture.

In the 1950s, the Romanian communist regime planned to demolish the main piece, the Endless Column, but the threat was never acted on.  

After the fall of the communist regime, the site was listed in the 1996 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund, which, together with the Romanian government and the World Bank, funded its restoration between 998-2000.

Constantin Brancusi, French-Romanian artist. Photo:Alberto Savinio/Flikr

Brancusi, who was born in 1876 in Hobita village, in southwest Romania, died in 1957 in Paris as one of the most acclaimed world sculptors of the 20th century, considered a pioneer of Modernism and a patriarch of modern sculpture.

Romania has successfully included several sites in the UNESCO World Heritage list, including the Danube Delta in 1991, a group of fortified Saxon churches in Transylvania in 1993 and 1999, Horezu Monastery in 1993, several medieval churches in northern Moldavia in 1993, the Dacian citadels in Orastie, Transylvania, in 1999, Maramures wooden Churches in 1999 and the historic centre of Sighisoara, in Transylvania, also in 1999.

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