In 1906 the first autonomous museum for peasant art was established. Lucky circumstances brought the art historian Alexandru Tzigara-Samurcaş as its first director. He renamed the institution the Ethnography and National Art Museum and from 1912 on, the National Art Museum. During the 40 years of Tzigara Samurcaş’ leadership the museum was in the avant-garde of European museology.
After the WWII, the Communist regime moved the museum in the Ştirbei Palace on Calea Victoriei, for 25 years and under a new name: the Popular Art Museum of the Romanian Popular/Socialist Republic. During this period, the museographers were forced to not exhibiting some valuable collection pieces, especially the religious ones. However, they succeeded in increasing the heritage of the museum with three times as much objects of peasant art.
In 1978, the Popular Art Museum and the Village Museum were united in one institution. The unification mainly meant that most of collections of the Popular Art museum remained hidden in a long and unhealthy sleep until 1990 when the museum was reestablished and brought back to its home on 3, Kiseleff Blvd.
The Romanian Peasant Museum’s building is placed in Victoriei Square in Bucharest, next to the Natural Science Museum “Grigore Antipa” and the Geology Museum. The construction of the building, including its design was assigned to architect N. Ghika-Budeşti, leading member of the Romanian school of architecture. In 1941, after 29 years and many interruptions, the building, in its current shape was ready. Representative for the neo-Romanian style, inspired by traditional architecture, especially the Brâncovenesc style, the building is remarkable by its composition using mainly floral and zoomorphic decorations. The visible red bricklayer, the big windows under arches, the columns of the loggia, the elegant silhouette of the main tower reminding of the bell towers in old monasteries make the building a true palace of art. (Slightly adapted from the museum's site).
You can visit the Romanian Peasant Museum here, - an interesting commented virtual tour.
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