Cotroceni National Museum
Cotroceni is the only residence all over the Romanian land which has been continuously inhabited since the late 17th century up to now. Consequently, the Government Decision no. 478 of 10th July 1991 stipulated the setting up of the Cotroceni National Museum as a nation representative establishment under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture.
On 27th December 1991 the old wing of the palace was opened to the public and later, by the government decision no. 1279, on 20th December 2001 the Museum was placed under the authority of the Presidential Administration. The Museum operates inside the Cotroceni Palace, a historical monument representative of the late 19th century Romanian architecture that remarkably embodied part of the architectural features of the monastery established by Şerban Cantacuzino, Prince of Wallachia, in the late 17th century.
Its uniqueness is granted by the interfusion of a 350 year history memorial site, with that of an art museum. Its halls and apartments have a tremendous evocative power, as the focus is put not only upon the inherent value of the various artefacts, but especially on their connection with the personalities that have lived in the palace throughout the years.
During its 25 years of existence, the Cotroceni National Museum has gained an important place within the Romanian social and cultural space as a modern establishment whose organising and cultural projects aim at keeping pace with the new trends of the contemporary museology. Various scientific and exhibition programmes have been carried out on topics as history, history of arts from the medieval period to the present and on restoration and conservation work. „Historical restitutions” is one of the projects of this establishment which, although having various names, it has kept a single goal, to draw the community’s attention on personalities unfairly forgotten or on disappeared historical monuments. The main purpose is to reconsider the activity of artists, politicians, or outstanding events in the Romanian history and culture and bring them back to the collective memory.
The Hunting Room, an Italian Neo Renaissance-style work of the Czech architect Karel Liman (1855-1929), is dated back to 1925-1926. The limewood carved ceiling, frames and panels grippingly contrast with the Rusciuc white stone of the pavement and the columns. The room contains collections of weapons, trophies and furniture specific to the artistic style.
The Flowers’ Room or the Golden Room as it was named at that time, was decorated according to Queen Maria of Romania’s wish and was inspired by the Secession style, dated 1900. The walls, which are enriched by beautiful festoons, enclose decorative art pieces of furniture specific to Louis XVI style, an assembly of chairs, armchairs, sofas and banquettes carved in wood, gilded and upholstered in hand-embroidered natural silk, and two chiffoniers valuable for their intarsia work.
King Ferdinand’s Library or Work Cabinet belongs to Henry II French style and is worked out of elm wood. In the upper side there is the shelved gallery whose tracery balustrade is sustained by groups of columns. The époque atmosphere is completed by a remarkable green Portoro marbled fireplace.
The White Hall, nowadays known as Cherchez Hall as it bears the name of the Romanian architect Grigore Cerchez (1850-1927), the one that, on Queen Maria of Romania’s initiative, designed this room in neo-Romanian style following World War I, is the Great Reception Hall of the Cotroceni Palace. To obtain this hall, other two spaces were deallocated, namely the Ballroom and the famous Dining-room. The latest is the place where in August 1916 Romania’s entering World War I was signed. Nowadays the space of Cherchez Hall neighbours and stylistically continues the Dining Room of the Cotroceni Palace which had been created before World War I.
Queen Maria’s Bedroom, Tudor-style and furnished in the Art Nouveau style, is restored after the 1929 version. An 18th century tapestry is exhibited above the bed and the remarkable entrance door is reconditioned in limewood carved like a lacery. Two statuettes by Miliţa Pătraşcu remind us of Queen Maria’s genuine grace.
The Painting Room which is now named The Oriental Room taking into consideration the existence here of some ceremonial and decorative Chinese art wares is a Tudor-style creation by architect Karel Liman. The background is dominated by a spiral-staired gallery that opens into the tea room. On the opposite tall-windowed wall, two side doors allow the access on a terrace with an oriel. The far East art furniture is manufactured in ebony wood, black-brightened and carved with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, coral inlaid and chisel silver.
Tapestried in dark cherry silk, specific to the early 19th century, previously a princely room, there follows the Empire Room. furnished in Egyptian fashion sustained by the abundance of sphinxes, roses, leaves, laurel wreaths carved in ebony wood.
Another room on the western side of the palace is this apartment inspired by Louis XVI style but designed with 18th century English style hints developed by the Scottish architects Robert and James Adam brothers, as well as by the cabinet-maker Thomas Sheraton.