Cantacuzino Castle from Busteni will host the first traveling exhibition of Transylvanian painted tiles

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After the “Moving Van Gogh”, Picasso and Dali exhibitions, Cantacuzino Castle from Busteni will host the first traveling exhibition of Transylvanian painted tiles. The tiles are manufactured by Teracota Medias – the last manufactory of manually pressed and painted stoves in Romania.

On March 3, the exhibition entitled “Teracota, mon amour!” will open at the Cantacuzino Castle from Busteni, being a collaboration between the Imbold Association and the Medias terracotta factory. Until now, the exhibition was exhibited in 2017 at the White Night of the Galleries in Bucharest and on the occasion of the Romania’s National Day, in the city of Alba Iulia. The exhibition can be visited for one month, until April 3, at the Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni, and then it will be moved to Sibiu and Iasi. Along the ceramic pieces, a mobile stove with painted tiles, glued with yellow clay and mounted by one of the stove fitters from the Medias factory, will also be exhibited. The Medias terracotta factory was established in 1906 and had 25 workers. After 110 years, the factory has approximately the same number of employees and manually produces tiles, using the same techniques and materials as in 1906. Each tile is molded, finished, glazed and painted manually. A large collection of tiles and molds of Transylvanian tiles, including copies of rare stoves from the Astra Museum in Sibiu, is collected in the factory archive. Part of them will be molded, painted and exhibited at the Cantacuzino Castle within a traveling exhibition, launched in 2017 on the occasion of the White Night of Galleries from Bucharest. The event will also be attended by a small team of the factory, including by the young sculptor Costescu Nicoleta Iulia, a graduate of the National University of Arts in Bucharest.

The tile oven is deemed to be one of the most representative artefacts in the Romanian civilization and mainly in the Transylvanian one, an artefact that is able to reflect events and changes in the society in terms of ethnicity, politics, society, economy, etc.

At first, the stoves with tiles, a western import product, were spread in the big Transylvanian cities, specific craft guilds being attested in 1376 in Sibiu, Sebes, Sighisoara and Orastie. The most prestigious one belong to the Saxons in Brasov and Sibiu, followed by those of the Szeklers in Covasna and Harghita. The tiles gradually spread from the urban to the rural areas and from the noble families to the wealthy Romanian peasants or craftsmen.

Romanian potters were inspired by the works of the city guilds, adopting the same work technique: pressing the clay ball in a soft wooden mold decorated with bold decorative motifs. The same technique is currently used at the Teracota Medias factory, the negative mold being now sculpted manually in plaster by a plastic artist and copied in series for each molder.