A trip down the memory lane

a trip down the memory lane The historian Nicolae Iorga in an exhibition in Piatra-Neamt

The Neamt National Museum Compound, located in the north-eastern Romanian town of Piatra-Neamt, over October 2022 and January 2022 plays host to an exhibition dedicated to one of Romania's all-time icons in terms of culture, history, academia and politics. The exhibition is themed Nicolae Iorga (1871-1940) and the commemoration of his 150th birthday anniversary. Nicolae Iorga was a historian, a literary critic, a documentarist, a poet, a writer of memoirs. Iorga a was also a minister, a parliamentarian, a prime-minister, a university professor and an academician. Part of Nicolae Iorga's towering encyclopedic personality was captured by the aforementioned exhibition. About the exhibition and its capacity to illustrate the human side of Nicolae Iorga's personality and about what we can find in the exhibition, here is researcher and exhibition curator Cristina Paiușan-Nuică.

"I need to say the exhibition is based on the "Iorga-Pippidi" Collection. And I also need to extend my thanks to professor Andrei Pippidi, Nicolae Iorga's nephew. His mother, Mrs Liliana Iorga-Pippidi, was Nicolae Iorga's daughter who donated an absolutely precious collection to the Romanian National History Museum, in an act of generosity that somehow comes in continuation to the acts of generosity made by the grandfather and, later, by professor Pippidi's mother. Can you imagine we had Nicolae Iorga's original birth certificate, we have his school diplomas with his primary school record, then the high-school one, then we have the university diploma, the Doctor's diploma in Leipzig. We have family photos, we have photos with Nicolae Iorga and his 11 children, 4 of his first marriage with Maria Tasu and 7 of the marriage with Catinca Iorga. We have Catinca Iorga's superb portrait made by Schweitzer-Cumpăna and restored here, in the museum. It was displayed for the first time in the exhibition in Bucharest and right now we can find it here in Piatra Neamt. We have, and the term is my coinage, some sort of mini-history of Europe made of the Doctor Honoris Causa diplomas and the distinctions Nicolae Iorga received throughout the years. As there are very few countries with which he had relationships and where he did not receive any recognition at all. For instance, he received a diploma of corresponding member of the Academy in Chile. As he was crossing the Ocean, Nicolae Iorga also made a journey through America and I think this is a very interesting topic, which needs to be further explored."

What other noteworthy objects can be seen there? And what exactly does the showcase, specifically dedicated to the locality of Piatra Neamt as part of the exhibition, include, according to curator Cristina Paiușan?

"In the exhibition in Piatra-Neamț you can see all that. You can see some of Nicole Iorga's personal items, objects that were donated to the Nicolae Iorga" Institute of History and which we included in this exhibition For instance, the pen he wrote with, his glasses, a magnifying glass, a pen holder where he kept his stalks, personal letters, letters he received from great personalities. And, since Nicolae Iorga's relation with Piatra-Neamt was good, he went places in the entire region a couple of times, he visited monasteries, he visited the town as such, me and my colleague Mihaela Verzea, who is also a deputy director of the museum in Piatra-Neamț, we had a small showcase made, focusing on Iorga and Piatra-Neamț. A showcase which has two extremely important pieces: there are two letters, one, received from Elena Cuza in 1909, the very year when Elena Cuza passed away. She retired in Piatra neamt, in the final years of her life, and looking after her was doctor Flor, the one who sent her the second letter, which actually goes with Elena Cuza's letter. Elena Cuza thanked Nicolae Iorga in 1909 for everything he did for the Romanian nation and also thanked him for keeping the memory intact, of her husband, ruling prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza. It is a very interesting letter. The letter is accompanied by father Constantin Matasă's calling card. He is the one who protected the monuments in Neamt and the one who had a close relationship with Nicolae Iorga, who was the president of the Historical Monuments Commission."

Here is curator Cristina Paiușan once again, this time telling us something very personal about the exhibition.

"I, for one, hope that every one of those who will visit the exhibition will find something new about Nicolae Iorga, about Nicolae Iorga the man and about the relationship he had with his own children, whom he loved very much. A little bit about the relationship with, and the great love he had for his wife. And one of the most beautiful love letters that was kept is one of those Professor Pipidi published in "Letters to Catinca", where Iorga the man, where enamoured Nicu wrote to a miss who was rather serious and who was still uncertain if she would link her life to that of the already famous Nicolae Iorga. We had the exhibition in Bucharest and now it is in Piatra Neamt and we hope to have it travel countrywide, and in each place, we should say something about Nicolae Iorga and that particular place. We hope it would bring a great scholar and a great man to the public's attention yet again. We hope it would once again bring to the public's attention the Romanian historiography and everything Nicolae Iorga meant for the Romanian historiography and for the Romanian people, since Nicolae Iorga was one of the founding fathers of unified Romania, and his role, I think, has remained crucial even to this day. And, when you want to find a topic or when you search a bibliography, you get hold of Iorga's writings and say "Let us see what he wrote many years ago?" and then you start searching what has been written, since Iorga to the present, about that particular topic." 


Publicat: 2022-11-19 14:00:00
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