Updates, Live

Monday, August 06, 2012


Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, Self-portrait
oil on panel
Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze
no copyright infringement intended

The liberality with which Heaven now and again unites in one person the inexhaustible riches of its treasures and all those graces and rare gifts which are usually shared among many over a long period is seen in Raphael Sanzio of Urbino, who was as excellent as gracious, and endowed with a natural modesty and goodness sometimes seen in those who possess to an unusual degree a humane and gentle nature adorned with affability and good-fellowship, and he always showed himself sweet and pleasant with persons of every degree and in all circumstances.

It is a memory from the beginning of the 1950s. I was less than ten years. My parents took me once to the Art Museum from the Royal Palace in Bucharest (well, by that time it was named the Palace of the Republic, as it is named, I think, still today; and everyone was still naming it the Royal Palace, as it is, I think, still the case today). Together with us there was a couple of friends of my parents: he was an artist painter and a philosopher, his wife was an art critic. It was a strong friendship between them and my mother, for more than ten years, a friendship that had begun in Paris, where all had spent lots of years.

As we were passing the rooms of the museum, an old gentleman approached us and changed some words with my parents' friends. Suddenly some young ladies appeared as from nowhere and started an animated discussion with him. I was far to small to appreciate his Goethean attitude: a venerable master surrounded by young sympathizers, keeping his Olympian allure, while finding a manifest joy in the happening. And maybe, to be now a bit cynical, I also could not realize how genuine was their sympathy and how Olympian his attitude.

He was Jean Alexandru Steriadi, a venerable artist, of course I did not know him, as I did not know the name of any other artist by then. I remember what some of us said after a while, what is better for an artist, to die young and beautiful as Raphael, or to reach a very old age, when you can be still admired, while you can also be almost forgotten?

Well, Steriadi was very admired, as I could see. He passed away soon after that, and later, sometime in my youth, I started to know and appreciate his works.

Today, I am living in walking distance to a street having his name. And each time I am passing on that street (which is almost daily), I remember that visit long time ago to the Art Museum from the Royal Palace: my first encounter with Jean Alexandru Steriadi and my first encounter with Raphael.

(Old Masters)

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home