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Exhibition: Diocese of Tulcea’s Treasure

Location: Complexul Muzeal Bistrita Năsăud/ Bistrita Năsăud Museum
Duration: 28. 09. – 15. 11. 2017
Opening: Thursday, September 28, 11:00 pm
Partner: Diocese of Tulcea, Bistrita Năsăud Museum
Curators: dr. Alexandru Constantin Chituţă and Dr. Raluca Frîncu, Dr. Corneliu Gaiu

Text from the curators:
The exhibition invites the public to find out more about a remarkable heritage of religious objects representative for the cultural and religious area of North Dobruja during the 18th,19th and the 20th centuries.
In the millennial space of Dobruja one can find Getae, Roman and Byzantine cities, a mixture of civilizations in a unique synthesis, a place where the Western cultural traits coexist with the Balkan and the Eastern ones.
The North Dobruja is where religions meet without generating conflicts, but also the space where Christianity itself celebrates 2.000 years, a reality marked by local monasteries and especially by the altars in Halmyris and Niculițel celebrating the first martyrs on the Romanian territories.
Greeks, Bulgarians, Lipovans, Ukrainians, Aromanians, Italians, Romanians, etc., all created a model of respect for oneself and the other, which was rare to find in the early 20th century Europe.
It is only natural for Brukenthal National Museum to host these treasures of religious art in which is stored the deepest spirit of the Romanian faith. And it is an acknowledged fact that Brukenthal Museum endeavors in assisting both individuals and institutions with no curatorial background in supporting and promoting culture and arts in Romania.
The religious items from the Diocese of Tulcea demonstrate the effort of developing a local visual language, by assimilating specific means of expression characteristic for Byzantine and Slavic styles.
The exhibition displays silver covered New Testaments (with an Ottoman stamp) alongside chalices dated in the early 19th c., prismatic legged, presenting decorated bases and conical cups, the decorative featured showing Gothic, Byzantine and Russian influences. Beside the figures of Christ and the saints, the ornamentation of the chalices illustrates figurative representations and rich vegetal motifs: flowers, stalks and leaves, the intermediate spaces being filled by entrelac reliefs. The processional cross of an impressive size is also a valuable piece representing an example for a production that follows the tradition of the workshops in Mount Athos. Because the cross symbolizes the sacrifice of Jesus, its carved iconography illustrates the most significant moments of Jesus' life, especially the Passions.
The icon of St. Demetrios is also individualized by its unusual large size, being one of the most important pieces in the collection of icons from Dobruja; it is covered in silver and dated 1833.
Among the tabernacles of Russian influence is to be noted the tabernacle from Celic Dere Monastery which is a church model made for processional purposes. It presents medallion and bust representations of the saints and seraphs, a framed miniature representation of the Dormition of Virgin Mary comprising 16 characters and the Eye of Providence – an eye enclosed by a triangle, surrounded by rays of light, symbolizing the perfection.
The exhibition “Diocese of Tulcea’s Treasure”, a project in partnership with Brukenthal National Museum, aims at reinstating, among the national cultural values, the religious art from churches and monasteries in the area of Tulcea. In other words, the exhibition occasions a deep reflection on the spiritual heritage left by our ancestors and the assumed responsibility in heritage preservation.


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