Beyond national style : the innovative thinking and designs of the architect Ion Mincu (1852–1912)

Title: Beyond national style : the innovative thinking and designs of the architect Ion Mincu (1852–1912)
Author: Minea, Cosmin
Source document: Art East Central. 2022, vol. [2], iss. 2, pp. 49-76
  • ISSN
    2695-1428 (online)
Type: Article

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This article offers a critical reading of the works and thinking of the celebrated Romanian architect Ion Mincu (1852–1912) in relation to the broader cultural and political context of the new nation-state. It investigates the literature on him up until the present day to trace the formation of his image as 'creator' of the Romanian (also known as Neo-Romanian or National) architectural style before presenting Mincu's range of artistic interests, innovative ideas and designs. Even if famous in Romania, Mincu is little-known for an English-language audience and partly to blame is precisely his fame as national architect which has made him a central figure only in histories of Romanian art and architecture. However, the article shows that Mincu harboured a diverse range of artistic ideas and interests, not all related to Romanian national ideology. His understanding of the relation between local building traditions and contemporary architecture was multi-faceted and driven by attempts to reconcile ideas about artistic progress and modernity with those about traditions and cultural identity. Therefore, the article move beyond the connection between his work and ideas about national identity in order to discern his many artistic concerns and his complex relation to the Romanian architectural heritage.