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Discover the unique history & architecture of the Royal Palace in Bucharest

publicat in: Different natural stones // Publicata pe 12.01.2018

At the beginning of the 19th century, Dinicu Golescu laid the foundation of a building that half a century later would become the Royal Palace of Bucharest, a building now known as the National Art Museum of Romania. Three years (1812-1815) took Golescu to errect a building that included 25 rooms, a large number for Romania at that time, especially as the land was on the outskirts of the city. The owners and the purpose of the edifice change over time (Alexandru Ghica Voda, Alexandru Ioan Cuza) until it becomes the home of Carol I (1839-1914) in 1866. From that moment on, the destiny of this building becomes closely connected with the Royal House and the important moments of Romania's history.

Let's compare for a few seconds the currently imposing image of the Palace on Calea Victoriei with Carol I's insights on what was then to become his royal residence: "The rooms were not too large, yet with pleasant balance. (...) The windows of these rooms led to a dirty, dirty market where some Gypsies had settled, and the pigs were rolling in the mud. "

Between 1882-1906, Carol commission two foreign architects (Paul Gottereau and Karel Liman), so that the building extends and acquires a shape similar to today, their work being continued by architect N.N. Nenciulescu (commissioned by Carol II) to finalize her final structure between 1930 and 1937. The war also marked the construction, the northern wing being partially destroyed in 1944. Four years later, the communist regime passed the building into state property and turned it into museum, yet keeping the central body - the throne room of the Royal Palace - for the reception of the senior Communist official in the Council of Ministers (later the State Council). Between 1950 and 1989 and without interruption, the former Royal Palace functions as an art museum.

"Prince Charles de Hohenzollern entering Bucharest" (engraving from L'illustration, The 10th of May, 1866)

Following the events from December 1989, approximately 80% of the building was destroyed. From 1990 to 2000 the museum is closed for renovation and reconstruction and since 2001 the building hosts the Museum of Art of Romania.

In such a context, it is not surprising that the natural stone, more precisely marble, was chosen to create the distinction of such a place. Natural stone has been and continues to be the material of magnificence, of aristocratic classes and temples ever since its discovery as a building material. The surface gloss and the chromatic uniformity of most marbles will always suit the high, splendid halls, a feature of symbolic institutions with a major role in the functioning of societies, nations, and various forms of government.

Marble has witnessed French history in the Grand Trianon Palace, Schönbrunn Palace (Vienna), Buda Castle (Budapest), Buckingham Palace (London), and Royal Palace in Stockholm to give just a few examples of European civilization space. And in Bucharest, inside the former Royal Palace, we discover some types of marble that fulfill the same roles as those in the palaces mentioned above. It is Carrara marble, black marble, cream (exported from France), chocolate (Belgium), Ruschita (the columns from the throne room).

Regardless of the type of marble used in the interior design of the Royal Palace on Calea Victoriei, these stones have become the ideal support for the Neoclassic style, appeared in the 18th century as a reaction to the crowded baroque. Among the initiators of the paradigm shift of the design are the brothers Adam (Robert and James) who published in 1777 a volume of proposals for interior design dedicated to the houses that were to be built as a consequence of an expected (and confirmed!) Real estate boom from that time period.

Thus neoclassicism rediscovers the simplicity of the forms from the Greek and Roman antiquity, but without completely abandoning the Baroque concepts (segments, contrasts, and bright colors) etc. The geometry of the buildings becomes symmetrical on the outside with the interiors focused around panels (square, oval, rectangular) framed in red, green and black stucco applied on stretched surfaces, contributing to the distinction of the rooms.

Columns remain just as important in the new style. Being aware of these details of the epoch that marked architectural major changes in mentality brought by the Enlightenment, the Queen Mary was the one who came up with the drawings and photographs of the brothers Adam to the palaces of the architect. In this way, we can say that the Queen was a "co-designer" of the Palace, aware of the latest trends of the moment, where marble remained as present as ever, yet was given a more subtle role.

Adam's neoclassical model, modernly adapted to gorges for indirect lighting.

Marble - in various shapes: steps, poles, stuccoes - not only harmonize perfectly with these neoclassical geometric and chromatic approaches, but it is a natural sound amplification system in large rooms, such as the Hall of the Throne (and also the Auditorium Hall) where talks could be held without raising the voice.

Luxurious, elegant, discreet, durable, versatile, offering a good acoustics, marble is used as an example – the Royal Palace in Bucharest –  for its many qualities, confirmed in thousands of cases, over thousands of years.

Address of the Royal Palace of Bucharest / National Art Museum of Romania: 49-53 Calea Victoriei, sector 1, Bucharest, Zip code 010063.

Visiting Program of the Royal Palace / National Art Museum of Romania:
Open: Wednesday – Sunday
11:00 – 19:00 (May - September)
10:00 – 18:00 (October to April)
The last visitor's access is allowed one hour before the museum closes.
Photo source: wikipedia

Discover the unique history & architecture of the Royal Palace in Bucharest
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