Cuprins / Contents
Maria. Regina... Memoria peliculei, Ernest Oberländer-Târnoveanu
Marie. The Queen...
The memory of the film roll
In 2013 there are 75 years since the death of the one who was Queen Marie of Romania (born Marie Alexandra Victoria, Princess of Edinburgh, Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Princess of Saxa and Coburg-Gotha, Duchess of Saxony, 20 October 1875 - 18 July 1938). She passed away on the 18th of July 1938 and entered definitively into the history’s pages; that moment meant not only the disappearance from the political scene of one of the most complex and fascinating personages of our modern history, but also that of one of the world’s great women from the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century and, undoubtedly, the disappearance of the most loved and popular member of the Royal House of Romania, among those who lived before the Second World War. Starting from the large collection of historical photographs, engravings and old postcards of the National History Museum of Romanian, also containing a substantial number of images depicting Queen Marie, we considered that the best way of reintroducing amid our contemporaries the memory of this extraordinary human being would be editing a volume—Marie. The Queen...—reuniting the most significant representations of her. Apart from the four hundred images kept in the museum’s collection, the volume presents three more from the collection of Mrs. Diana Mandache.
Fully benefiting from the rapid progress of the photographical techniques, as well as of the ones for replicating images at industrial scale, Queen Marie left behind a vast archive impregnated on gel and silver salts film, created along about six decades in different places from Europe (Great Britain, Romania, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece, Yugoslavia, Italy, France, Switzerland, Hungary) and North America (USA).
Certainly, advantaged by her natural qualities, by the beauty and plasticity of her face and body, by her aura of a born leader, by the talent and refinement of her fashion style and behaviour, Marie, the child, the wife, the mother, the princess or the queen becomes automatically the target of the camera’s objective. Not less true is the fact that she had an immense dramatic talent and an irresistible pleasure for posing, for playing and acting roles, thus creating highly elaborated scenes or compositions by having the most natural touch in the world, as if there were snapshots caught in a spontaneous movement of the camera’s operator.
The selected photographs present the most important moments in the tumultuous life of a person, like the one Queen Marie had, from her childhood until the eve of her death, vivid or worn by sickness, surprised together with her blood relatives from Great Britain, Germany and Russia, with the Royal Family of Romania, with her husband, children and grandchildren, as a politician and soldier on the front or as a diplomat on a mission, together with genteel and bland officials or surrounded by simple people, in the loneliness of her dream houses or gardens at Cotroceni, Bran or Balcik, with her favourite flowers and beloved pets.
Looking at the hundred of images gathered in the volume Marie. The Queen... it is very difficult to decide which was in fact the most important facet of Queen Marie’s personality—that of a stateswoman, of a public relations agent, of a born communicator, of an artist or, simply, of an intelligent, sensible and beautiful woman, eager to live her life. The unconventional and uninhibited personality of Queen Marie is powerfully revealed by the superb images depicting her sophisticated clothes and jewelry, the interiors decorated according to her sumptuous and, at the same time, simple taste or the splendid furniture she designed.
The selection of the photographs and other iconographie documents presented in the volume Marie. The Queen..., as well as of the commentaries from the Queen’s works which accompany the images, was made by my colleagues Dr. Oana Ilie, Alexandra Mărășoiu, Dr. Cornel Ilie, Raluca Velicu, Laura Lăptoiu, Dr. Florin Georgescu and Ionuț-Valentin Drăgoiescu. To Mr. Cornel Ilie we owe the well-made layout and graphics of the volume. Even if it is said that an image is worth a thousand or maybe even a million words, we considered that in order to understand the personage who Queen Marie was and the époque she lived it would be useful to complement the volume by a biography of hers written by our colleague, Dr. Diana Mandache, a specialist in the modern history of the Romanian monarchy. In order to enhance the accessibility, the volume Marie. The Queen... is bilingual —Romanian and English version.
I congratulate my colleagues and thank them for producing not only a valuable scientific paper, but also a very beautiful and elegant book. Due to the authors of the volume Marie. The Queen... not only are there brought under our eyes the most important moments in the life of one of the first rank creators and actors of our modern history, but it is also presented the illustrated chronicle of Romania and of a world in full transformation, dynamic and contradictory.
We are convinced that the volume Marie. The Queen... will become a valuable and useful instrument for Romanian and foreign historians, as well as a book that will interest a broad audience, through the novelty of the information and the richness of the data it provides concerning Romania’s history at the end of the 19th century and during the first half of the 20th century.
Dr. Ernest Oberländer-Târnoveanu