Romania, 1971. 450 anniversary of the death of Prince Neagoe Basarab of Walachia. Sc. 2288.

The National Museum 

 of Art of Romania 

The Curtea de Arges Cathedral

and the Princess Roxanda 

Romania, 1939. Cathedral of Curtea de Arges. Sc. 488.

    The National Museum of Art of Romania re-opened recently, so I took advantage of my trip to Bucharest for pay a visit to the museum. From the Department of Medieval Art I have chosen to show you on this page a fresco fragment of the master Dobromir from Targoviste, painted in 1526. The fragment was taken from the cathedral in Curtea de Arges (read Arjesh) and shows one of the founders' portraits, originally located in the pronaos. The fragment was detached in 1881 - 1886, during a restoration. 
    The Curtea de Arges cathedral and monastery is the place where many princes and kings of Romania are buried. The fresco on the stamp above, displayed on the left, shows the Walachian prince Neagoe Basarab, the initial founder of the cathedral and the first prince who was buried there, in 1521. The cathedral was sanctificated by Patriarch Teolipt I of Constantinopole, who created an ecumenical center at this seat (after N. Iorga). The fresco showing the Prince Basarab is situated in the cathedral itself. The stamp shown below on the left, dedicated to the 475th anniversary of the monastery, presents also the Prince Neagoe Basarab and his wife, the Princess Despina Militza.  
   The Curtea de Arges cathedral appeared several times on the Romanian stamps, so I have the privilege to show many of them throughout this page. Unfortunately the fresco of Princess Roxanda hasn't appeared on a stamp yet, but it is so interesting that I have put it on this page too, in the hope that this wonderful work of art will be one day shown by the Romanian post.

Romania, 1992. Curtea de Arges Monastery, 475th Anniversary. Prince Basarab and his wife Despina. Sc 3792 Romania, 1947. Cathedral of Curtea de Arges. Sc. 670. In medallion the former King Mihai.

    Princess Roxanda's portrait is part of the votive scene which make the completion of the painting found previously in the Curtea de Arges cathedral. It was there paired with the painting of her husband, the Prince Radu de la Afumati.
    Roxanda, depicted as the official founder, is holding the model of the church. She is wearing a ceremonial costume: white shirt with very large sleeves, pleated red dress and an Italian velvet mantle with gold motifs, and a fur collar folded over her shoulders. Her rich crown with fleurons is placed over a pearl string network which covers her hair. According to the Serbian fashion, her head-dress has prependoulia pendants which hang from her temple to the level of the lower jaw.
    Dobromir's painting perfectly matches the imposing size of the cathedral in Curtea de Arges.
    Apart from some seventeenth and eighteenth century retouches (partially removed during the restoration) the quality of his art is still noticeable in the precise and delicate drawing of the faces with oblong eyes and curved eyelashes, the warm and light modeling of the flesh.

Romania, 1967. Curtea de Arges Monastery, 450th Anniversary. Sc. 1959. Romania, 1991. Curtea de Arges Monastery

Curtea de Arges Monastery, now in the Romanian Museum of Art. Princess Roxanda.


      The votive painting in the pronaos of the cathedral in Curtea de Arges fully reveal the atmosphere at the court of Neagoe Basarab (see again the stamp on top, on the left side), a prince whose strong personality influenced the south-eastern Christian orthodox civilization at the beginning of the sixteen century. (After Marina Sabados).
     The different stamps displayed above show the Curtea de Arges cathedral. Please move the mouse pointer over the stamps for more information.

Published: 06/09/2001. Revised: 08/06/01.
Copyright 2001 by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved worldwide.

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