Joy - Beauty - Communication

  Joy usually produces beauty and beauty produces communication..., as Horia Bernea once said. That is also the dominant impression that I had after having visited the Romanian Peasant Museum. Beauty and joy are being offered to the Romanian or foreign visitor, whether he is a member of an elite or just a simple person. And maybe this is true communication. Communion. The Village Museum – one of the first ethnographical museums of the world – reunites, in a generous natural scenery, more than three hundred buildings, some of them dating since the 19th century, each of them belonging to different areas of the country. One can find here all the things that shape the every-day context, the well-balanced order of the peasant's life: houses, gates, cottages, barns, stables, water and wind mills, furniture, ceramics, textures, sacred images, tools, the church. Many of us, city people, only know them from books. An atmosphere of harmony and peace that is very hard to encounter elsewhere was created there, mostly owing to of Victor I. Popa, a novelist and a playwright, the one who staged the setting of every house. Contemplation is included and it even becomes solid ground in a public institution lacking the harsh appearance of artifact. Authentic art. There is also a science of exponential detail – whether it's the hearth and the household tools, or the bread kiln in the yard, the benches, the sacred images on the Eastern wall embellished with towels and basil or with the tools used in the field-work – this is more and more of a rarity in a society where, as Horia Bernea mentioned in an interview, "there's a degradation in the way one is looking at things, due to the abuse exercised by everything that is commercial. Everything is accompanied by images, therefore we can say that the eye is being perverted." In this special space, every element is in perfect harmony, without distortion or harshness, rebuilding, with refinement and professionalism, the traditional life in its full authenticity. Certainly, this is precisely what the teacher, the sociologist and the man of culture that was Dimitrie Gusti wanted when he founded, in 1936, the Village Museum, thus bringing to one of the fanciest areas of the capital a glimpse of the Romanian tradition – a gesture that is all the more remarkable considering the fact that naming Bucharest "a small Paris in the middle of a large village" was almost a cliché (that's how "the nick-name changed into fame," as the poet said). "I believe that eternity was born in the village," says a famous line of Blaga's. Fascinating glimpses of the Romanian village can be persuasive in the capital as well. It is merely an invitation.

by Simona Brânzaru