Daily Picture 14-Nov-09: Romantic Era Coat of Arms

c19th coat of arms, Bucharest

Aristocratic coat of arms that belonged to Costache-Boldur family (info provided by Mr. Gabriel Badea Paun) placed within a Renaissance inspired panoply on the roof above the doorway of the family house, dated sometime in the first half of c19th, Regina Maria area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The modern nation building process in the Romanian lands started in the first half the c19th, a time of intense search for roots in the romantic ancient and medieval past. The Danubian Principalities (Wallachia and Moldavia), the core of future Romania, were for more than five centuries part of the Ottoman realm  and the recovery of a nearly forgotten European identity made that national soul searching even more poignant. Many among the upper classes, the aristocrats and merchants (the principalities did not have any industry at that time), began to proudly display through symbols or in crude western style architecture, in a city which in that period boasted mostly provincial Balkan Ottoman architectural styles, their supposed connections with the old grand families of Europe. Most of these were pure fiction, like the much touted supposed connection of the Romanian aristocracy with the medieval Venetian and Genovese nobility that in c13th and c14th set up trading towns in the area along the Danube and the Black Sea shore. Others were keen to emphasize equally dubious connections with the French or German aristocracy. That interesting period left traces in some of the city’s architectural decorations, especially in the coat of arms proudly displayed on roof panoply moldings placed above the doorways of the aristocratic and merchant houses. The image above shows such an interesting coat of arms from a now ruined house in the Regina Maria area, at that time located on the outskirts of old Bucharest. The finish is very crude and models a Renaissance style panoply, but nevertheless is very picturesque and conveys the atmosphere of a bygone era of incipient national consciousness among the grand families of this region of the Balkans.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.