Bear & Berries: A Neo-Romanian Style Panel

Bear and berries 1920s Neo-Romanian style panel, Royal Palace area, Bucharest. (Valentin Mandache)

The usual imagery displayed by the Neo-Romanian style decorative panels, on building façades, balconies or verandas, consist of motifs from biblical stories, inspired from the decorations of the late medieval-Wallachian churches. The most encountered motifs are those of the Peacock in the Garden of Eden, the Eagle Protector, the Lion or the Griffins. The above panel, which depicts a bear among berry leaves and vines, grabbing a succulent berry, is more unusual in the fact that is not inspired from the church panoply, but celebrates a very dear theme of the Romanian national romantic imagery, namely that of the rich natural environment of the country teaming with wild life, hosted by the Carpathian Mountains and the surrounding hills. The bear is also one of the totemic animals in Romanian ethnography and hence its depiction in visual arts, painting especially. Its architectural renderings are quite rare and that is why I found this particular panel that decorates the veranda fence of a Neo-Romanian style house, dating from the 1920s, very appealing  and worthy to bring it to your attention.

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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 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 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.

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