Ethnographic solar discs doorway

The doorway presented here dates from the second half of the 1930s and is of a late Neo-Romanian style type. This phase of the national style of Romania unfurled in the 1930s and also went on until its twilight in the years of the Second World War. It is characterised by what I would call a “crisis of expression” caused by an erosion of its popularity due to the ascending preference among the public for the Art Deco and Modernist styles and of also for Mediterranean inspired forms and motifs. The Neo-Romanian style tried, in its late phase, in many cases successfully, to assimilate the new forms of expression as is the case with this well preserved wooden doorway. The artefact brings together ethnographic solar discs, common in the Romanian peasant art, the rope motif decoration of the doorway edges, and Mediterranean style elements, belonging to the type which I term as fairy tale style, such as the gridiron protecting its window or the hinge and knob plates. The are five kinds of solar discs, displayed bellow the photograph of the doorway. The first two are pagan, pre-Christian, shared with the rest of the Indo-European world, while the other three include the motifs of the cross typical of Christianity, thus making their combination a wonderful reflection of half-pagan, half-Christian universe of the traditional Romanian peasant communities.

Ethnographic solar discs doorway, late 1930s house, ASE area Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Ethnographic solar discs doorway, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Ethnographic solar discs doorway, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Ethnographic solar discs doorway, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Ethnographic solar discs doorway, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Ethnographic solar discs doorway, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Two contrasting types of Neo-Romanian style doorways

The Neo-Romanian architectural style throughout its over six decades of existence, between the 1880s and 1940s, had to adapted itself to evolving architectural trends and technologies and also adopted, sometimes quite liberally, motifs and symbols from other styles, the most prominent such synthesis being perhaps its hybridisation with the Art Deco style in the 1930s era. Bellow are two Neo-Romanian style doorways that express those processes. The first one embellishes the front entrance of “Iulia Hasdeu” high school in Bucharest, which combines Neo-Romanian, classical and Gothic style motifs, while in the second example is a doorway displaying ethnographic motifs. They are just a sample from the great diversity of forms and motifs found within the decorative register of this architectural style peculiar to Romania.

Neo-Romanian style doorway, "Iulia Hasdeu" highschool front entrance, edifice built in 1926, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The high school doorway, seen in the photograph above and detailed image bellow, has a very interesting reference to a classical Greek-Roman temple pediment, symbolising the fact that the school is conceived as a “temple” or learning. The assembly also contains two thin Gothic column motifs at the door’s centre and on its arcade mullions, perhaps a metaphor for the fact that the school is envisaged as a “cathedral” of learning too.

Neo-Romanian style doorway, "Iulia Hasdeu" highschool front entrance (1926), Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Neo-Romanian style doorway, late-1920s house, Cismigiu area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The photographs above and bellow show a Neo-Romanian style doorway that displays prominent ethnographic motifs, the most remarkable of which being the intricately carved corbels supporting the awning. The assembly is imagined as echoing an ancestral Romanian peasant gateway, suggesting types found in villages that dot the piedmont of the Carpathian Mountains.

Neo-Romanian style doorway, late-1920s house, Cismigiu area, Bucharest, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

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

1900s Neo-Romanian doorway

Neo-Romanian style doorway with Beaux Arts style elements, dating from the 1900s, Foisorul de Foc, Bucharest (Valentin Mandache)

The above doorway is an interesting hybrid of early Neo-Romanian style elements such as the broken arch and the rope motif lining up the arch, ethnographic solar discs at the base of the arch or lilac shape Greek cross niches above and on each side of the arch, together with Beaux Arts bits seen in the wrought iron ornamentation of the door, especially the house owner’s monogram surrounded by a laurel wreath, a classical motif quite alien to the early Neo-Romanian style, which had as its main sources of inspiration the Wallachian late medieval architecture (Brancovan) and also Balkan Ottoman patterns. The whole composition is a witness of a period when the Neo-Romanian style was at its beginnings, not yet fully imposed on the architectural scene of the country and gives an idea how it made inroads into the consecrated tastes of the public.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Bucharest period doorways

Bellow are three examples of Bucharest doorways in styles that characterise most of the historic architecture of Romania’s capital. The first photograph immediately under the text is in what I call the Little Paris style, an architecture popular during the La Belle Époque era (corresponding with the late Victorian and Edwardian periods), which was inspired on the whole from the French c19th historicist styles very fashionable in Romania of that time. The second photograph presents a Neo-Romanian style doorway, a national-romantic architectural order peculiar to this country that reached its apogee in the 1920s, the decade following the Great War from which Romania emerged victorious with a heightened sense of national pride. The third image shows an Art Deco style doorway from the mid-1930s, a period when this international style became an architectural hallmark of Bucharest, which embellished the city with countless private and public edifices that still delight its contemporary visitors.

Little Paris style doorway, 1900s house, Magheru area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I like in the above example the pair of eye-holes piercing the main panels of each of the doors, used to identify the visitors of more than a century ago.

Neo-Romanian style doorway, late 1920s house, Kiseleff area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The main feature of this Neo-Romanian doorway is its ample awning inspired from that adorning entrances of late medieval Wallachian. The two jardiniers flanking the door are of great visual effect and are embellished with intricate Neo-Romanian motifs.

Art Deco style doorway, mid-1930s house, Mosilor area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This is a quite an elaborate Art Deco doorway assembly with an ample pediment and two beautiful jardinieres in the same style (a rarity for Bucharest) flanking the entrance on top of the access stair balustrades. I very much like the two wall lamps encastred into the pediment, embellished with stained glasses.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Neo-Romanian style doorway and gas pipe

A late 1920s Neo-Romanian style doorway "adorned" with a contemporary gas-pipe, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The strange setting presented above is an all too often encountered scene in Romania’s capital, where the city regulations and enforcement measures regarding the protection of period buildings are weak and plagued in many cases by corruption. Apart from the gas pipe, there is also an air conditioning unit in the upper right hand corner area of the image, and also a multitude of carelessly fixed TV cables above the door awning, giving an idea about the scale of this problem in Bucharest. To be fair, the fault is not entirely with the authorities, but lays also with the cultural attitudes of the local citizens, who in most cases see the gas pipes contorting around the exterior walls of their houses and the air conditioning units as status symbols of well being. That is why a change in those attitudes from both the citizens and the authorities will take a long time to achieve, perhaps a generation, which is hopped to be more educated and aware about the fragility of the architectural identity of this city.

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

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing 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.

1940s Neo-Romanian style doorway

A delicate and well proportioned 1940s Neo-Romanian style oak wood doorway, Domenii area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing 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.

Carved oak Neo-Romanian style doorway

An attractive mid-c20th carved oak Neo-Romanian style doorway, displaying late medieval Wallachian church motifs. Floreasca area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

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

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing 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.

Monumental Neo-Romanian Style Doorway

A well preserved and representative example of a monumental Neo-Romanian style doorway adoring a house from the late 1920s, in the Cotroceni area of Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

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

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing 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.

Neo-Romanian Style Doorway From the 1910s Decade

1910s Neo-Romanian style doorway, Silvestru area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The Neo-Romanian style doorway assembly in the photograph above is very interesting in the sense that it displays decorative motifs typical of the 1910s Bucharest architectural fashions, just before the start of the Great War. The main Neo-Romanian features are the Ottoman type broken arch moulding that acts as a pediment and the gridiron of the door windows, also inspired form Ottoman Balkan motifs. The door itself also contains Little Paris style decorations like the wood carved details on the lower level panels, or the central beam motifs, etc.  The architectural syncretism between the Neo-Romanian and the Little Paris styles, was in many aspects a characteristic of that decade, preceding the triumph of the former and the obliteration of the later style after the Great War.

***********************************************

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

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing 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.

Art Nouveau Outlines in A Neo-Romanian Style Doorway Assembly

Art Nouveau echoes in a late 1920s Neo-Romanian style doorway assembly, Cotroceni area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The Neo-Romanian architectural style emerged at the end of c19th together with other European national romantic movements in visual arts that saw the emergence of national architectural styles in countries spanning from Scandinavia to the Balkans. These styles were initially an expression of the internationalist Art Nouveau experiments of the time, taking inspiration from the local national traditions. Particular for Romania was that this Art Nouveau ambiance and character was still in use in many instances in the local architecture until the late 1920s and even in some cases in the 1930s, long after the twilight of the Art Nouveau and other national romantic styles elsewhere in Europe. The image above shows one such telling example of powerful Art Nouveau echoes in a late 1920s Neo-Romanian style doorway assembly that still preserves very prominent Fin de Siècle national-romantic forms (short Byzantine type columns, oversized decorations inspired from medieval Wallachian church architecture, the red paint as an allusion to the Pompeian Red colour and through that to the ancient Roman/ Latin origins of the Romanian people, etc).

***********************************************

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

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing 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.