Cosmin Minea: Europe in the Balkans

Europe in the Balkans: The Creation of a National Architectural Heritage in Modern Romania (1867-1920)

Cosmin Minea’s research looks at how local and foreign actors created a national architectural heritage in late 19th century Romania. It takes the transnational European ideas and networks of intellectuals as the defining factor in the creation of an artistic identity for the Romanian state. Foreign architects and intellectuals, coming chiefly from France and the Habsburg Empire, together with local artists, discovered, documented, wrote about, debated and restored various historical monuments from the former principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia and attempted to unify them in a coherent image of Romanian art. They were informed by European-wide ideas on national specificities, the writings of art history and restoration practices. The main research questions of the thesis are to what extent creating a national architectural heritage and therefore an artistic identity for Romania was a transnational phenomenon, involving European architects and intellectual networks? How was the heritage shaped by restorations or writings and how this reinforced and contributed to the national narrative?

Cosmin Minea

Cosmin Minea is a PhD researcher in the Department of Art History at the University of Birmingham, funded by the British Government through the Midlands3Cities Consortium. He is currently a doctoral fellow at the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz. His research looks at the architects, institutions and processes involved in creating, restoring and promoting a national architectural heritage in late nineteenth-century Romania. He focuses on the European-wide intellectual networks to analyse the development of key for the Romanian nation-state, such as ‘Romanian art’ and ‘National Architectural style’. He gives a prominent place to foreign actors, from France and the Habsburg Empire, who worked on or in Romania, and that reveal the transnational nature of the nation-building process. Cosmin Minea has long been interested in national architectural styles in Central and Southeastern Europe and in the various modernisation processes in the region. His MA thesis, defended in 2014, at Central European University in Budapest, was a comparative study of the ‘national’ architecture of Romania, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria as displayed in their pavilions at 19th Century Universal Exhibition in Paris. The thesis received the ‘Hanák Prize’ for the best dissertation in the History Department. His latest article is “Curtea de Argeș Monastery and Romanian Architectural Heritage in Late 19th Century” in Studies in History and Theory of Architecture, University of Architecture, Bucharest, Vol. 4. URL: http://sita.uauim.ro/4/a/48/


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