Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Theodor Aman

Gipsy Girl
oil on canvas
size unknown
National Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

Theodor Aman (1831-1891) was a Romanian painter, engraver and art professor of Armenian ancestry. He mostly produced genre and history scenes.

His father was a cavalry commander. After displaying an early affinity for art, in 1850, he went to Paris. While there, he became part of the Romanian revolutionary circles. Three years later, he had his first exhibition at the Salon. After that, he went to Istanbul in an effort to sell some paintings to the Sultan and visited Sevastopol during the Crimean War, creating history paintings with themes related to Romania's nationalist aspirations.

In 1855, he presented one of his best-known works, depicting the Battle of Alma, at the Exposition Universelle. When he returned home, he was knighted and presented with a scholarship to continue his studies in Paris, where he came under the influence of the Barbizon school. After a brief stay in Rome, he returned to Bucharest.

In 1864, he and his colleague convinced Romania's ruler to establish the "National School of Fine Arts" (now known as the Bucharest National University of Arts). He was appointed its first Director and held that position until his death. In 1908, his home/workshop became a museum.