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Collection of Antique Prints and Engravings (16thc – 19th c), (Part I)

October 29th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Diaspora, International Media, PEOPLE, Reviews

Collection of Antique Prints and Engravings (16thc – 19th c) Central Eastern Europe
Habsburg Empire, Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire ( Turkey in Europe)
the Principalities of Transylvania, Moldavia & Wallachia (present-day Romania), (Part I)

Portrait of Prince Dimitrie Cantemir

Portrait of Prince Dimitrie Cantemir

Philosophy of the Collection:

No single person could better represent the philosophy of this Collection than Prince Dimitrie Cantemir. Born in Moldavia, educated in Istanbul, to become a true Renaissance figure Cantemir spoke and wrote fluently in several languages, was ennobled by the Czar after the battle of the Pruth in 1711 and became a member of the Berlin Academy. Cantemir’s scholarly treatise on the History of the Ottoman Empire remained for 200 years a crucial reference book, used by Gibbon, Byron and Shelley and read by Churchill.

Dimitrie’s son, Antiochus, was the first Russian poet and was appointed the Tzar’s envoy to London, where he translated and printed his father’s books.

For over 400 years since the conquest of Constantinople, the continuous wars between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs, followed by the Russian-Ottoman wars changed the fortunes of empires. Yet in the midst of this maelstrom, in this Balkan alembic, the cross-fertilization of ideas produced some extraordinary characters, who led armies, changed borders, encouraged the emancipation of nations, explored the mosaic of a multi-ethnic society and attracted the attention of painters and engravers from Western Europe from the earliest map makers to the classic 18th and 19th century writers and artists.
It is hoped that such multi-faceted aspects, described by Cantemir in his oeuvre, are reflected in the themes of these engravings, whether depicting costumes, buildings, scenery, townscapes, battle scenes, military leaders, or political borders.

This wide-embracing ethos helped coalesce over a period of three decades the body of this Collection.

croman The Collector:

Constantin Roman is born in Romania and educated in Bucharest and Cambridge. Since childhood his interest in Arts is stimulated by his maternal grandmother’s collection of paintings, dispersed under the Communist regime. At the same time he studied the collection of old engravings and prints of the Biblioteca Centrala Universitara in Bucharest (formerly Fundatia Regele Carol I) burnt down in December 1989, by the Securitate.

From early childhood Constantin wanted to become an architect, but the positive discrimination meted out by the Communist regime after the Hungarian revolution of 1956, caused him to choose instead a career in Science. Ever since he kept a keen interest in History of Art and Architecture that is reflected in the current Collection.

Constantin ROMAN qualified with a Masters in Geophysics from the University of Bucharest. After graduation, he was invited to England, where he applied for and obtained several scholarships, in the United States, Canada and England amongst which a Research Scholarship from Peterhouse, Cambridge.

He graduated from Cambridge with a PhD in Plate Tectonics under the late Professor Sir Edward Bullard, FRS. Roman joined the exploration teams of major American oil companies in London, at the time of the first discoveries in the North Sea. He subsequently embarked on a career as an independent consultant to Industry and Governments, on world-wide projects. See http://www.celticpetroleum.com

This offered him the opportunity to travels and pursue his passion for collecting items of Romanian interest, which form the present-day collection.

After the fall of Ceausescu regime, Roman returned for a brief spell to the University of Bucharest as Visiting Professor. In 1997, in recognition of his contribution to Romanian Seismo-Tectonics Dr. Roman was awarded the degree of Professor Honoris Causa of the University of Bucharest and President of Romania, Emil Constantinescu (1996-2000) named him a Personal Adviser (Energy and Natural Resources). In 2000 The Institute of Physics Publishers (Bristol and Philadelphia) printed “Continental Drift, Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures” which charts Constantin Roman’s career and contribution to Earth Sciences as well as his Cultural forays . In 2002 Professor Roman was invested with the Order of Merit (Culture and Democracy) with the grade of Commander.

Constantin ROMAN is a British subject and currently lives in London.

History of the Collection:

Wallachia - 16th c. Italian Wood Engraving

Wallachia – 16th c. Italian Wood Engraving

Constantin ROMAN bought his first prints whilst a postgraduate student in Cambridge, in the early 1970s, when very few people were interested in the subject and prices were accessible. Over the following thirty years, as a Geophysicist, he had the opportunity to travel extensively and added substantially to his collection, mostly from dealers in England, France and Holland. His particular interest concentrated on images from the Ottoman Empire in Europe, with emphasis on Wallachia and Moldavia (the Lower Danube and the Carpathians) as well as the Eastern part of the Habsburg Empire, (the Principality of Transylvania). Auxiliary themes of a wider regional interest (Polish, Russian, Balkan, Hungarian, Austrian, Turkish) are also present.

Subject Matter:

The subject of the collection has a strong topographical interest. It consists of maps (including plans of battles and strategic fortifications), views (landscapes and townscapes), costumes, portraits of historical characters, scenes of social and political interest, architectural / natural monuments, political cartoons of the 19th century, etc.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • L. Stefan

    please allow me a little hint: the portrait of “Dimitrie Cantemir” that is shown on this page, is actually a portrait from his father Constantin Cantemir (1612, † 1693). He was from 1685 to his death prince of Moldavia. The print is: “Il Principe Cantemir Tartaro,” an etching by Jerome David (1590 – 1663) sheet 14 at the Ciatres 1634 published series “Bustes de Philosophes et de Rois”.