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Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuşi at Târgu Jiu

Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuşi at Târgu Jiu

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The Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuşi at Târgu Jiu is a homage to the Romanian
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 heroes of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The ensemble comprises three sculptures: the Table of Silence, the Gate of the Kiss and the Column of the Infinite, on an axis 1,300 m (4,250 ft) long, oriented west to east. The Ensemble is considered to be one of the great works of 20th century outdoor sculpture.


The monument was commissioned by the National League of Gorj Women to honor those soldiers who had defended Târgu Jiu in 1916 from the forces of the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

. Constantin Brâncuşi
Constantin Brancusi
Constantin Brâncuşi was a Romanian-born sculptor who made his career in France. As a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest, then to Munich, then to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris...

 (1876-1957) was at the time living in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, but welcomed the opportunity to create a large commemorative sculpture in his homeland. He accepted the commission in 1935, but refused to receive payment for it.

The Endless Column

The Column of the Infinite (Coloana infinitului) stacks 17 rhomboidal modules, with a half-unit at the top. The incomplete top unit is thought to be the element that expresses the concept of the infinite. Brâncuşi had experimented with this form as early as 1918, with an oak version now found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. The modules were made in the central workshop of Petroşani
Petroşani is a city in Hunedoara County, Romania, with a population of 45,447 .-History:The city of Petroşani was founded in the 17th century...

 (Atelierele Centrale Petroşani), assembled by Brâncuşi's friend engineer Ştefan Georgescu-Gorjan (1905-1985), and completed on October 27, 1938.

In the 1950s, the Romanian communist government
Communist Romania
Communist Romania was the period in Romanian history when that country was a Soviet-aligned communist state in the Eastern Bloc, with the dominant role of Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its successive constitutions...

 planned to demolish the column, but this plan was never executed. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989
Romanian Revolution of 1989
The Romanian Revolution of 1989 was a series of riots and clashes in December 1989. These were part of the Revolutions of 1989 that occurred in several Warsaw Pact countries...

 and the fall of the Communist regime, there was renewed interest in restoring the column, which by that time suffered from tilting, cracking, metal corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

, and an unstable foundation. For these reasons the site was listed in the 1996 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund is a private, international, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training....

. The restoration was facilitated by the Fund, which organized meetings for the stakeholders in 1998 and provided funding through American Express
American Express
American Express Company or AmEx, is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Three World Financial Center, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Founded in 1850, it is one of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company is best...

. Subsequently, the site was restored between 1998 and 2000 through a collaborative effort of the Romanian Government, the World Monuments Fund, the World Bank
World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is a family of five international organizations that makes leveraged loans, generally to poor countries.The Bank came into formal existence on 27 December 1945 following international ratification of the Bretton Woods agreements, which emerged from the United Nations Monetary...

, and other Romanian and international groups.


Two other pieces constitute the ensemble. The Table of Silence is a circular stone table surrounded by twelve seats. Nevertheless, the seats are not located close to the edges of the table. The Gate of the Kiss, of Banpotoc travertine (marble), features a kiss motif on the gate pillars.

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