Public Art : G.H.Cosbuc bust
Sculptor: © John Gregory Popovich (16th July, 1907 -
3rd August, 1946)
Description: A marble bust of (20th September 1866 -
9th May, 1918 ) who was a Romanian poet from Transylvania.
Location: The G.H.Cosbuc bust can be found in the
"Writers' Rotunda", Cismigiu Gardens near the center of Bucharest, Romania.
Background to the Writers' Rotunda:
The Writers' Rotunda, which is also known as the Roman Round, was built in 1943 in Cismigiu Park
as part of an intiative by philosopher and then government minister, John Petrovich.
The rotunda features 12 busts of influential Romanian writers including Hasdeu ,
Balcescu, Alecsandri , Mihai Eminescu , Alexander Odobescu , Titu
, Ion Luca Caragiale , Cosbuc , Stefan Octavian Iosif , Ion Creanga ,
Alexander Vlahuta and Duiliu Zamfirescu .
The original 12 included a bust of Octavian Goga, a Romanian poet, playwright and politician. The
bust however was taken to with a hammer and destroyed after World War II. The reason? When Goga was appointed
Prime Minister of Romania in 1937 by King Carol, he had grand plans to strip Romanian Jews of their citizenship. He
succeeded in doing this in 1938 with the introduction of his anti Semitic laws. His reign did not last
long after that. Following his resignation in 1938 he died from a massive stroke. At his funeral a floral tribute
from none other than Adolph Hitler adorned his coffin. In the 1960s a bust of Ion Creanga was finally placed on the
empty pedestal to replace the dictator.
Controvesy : The Romanian sculptor John Gregory
Popovich was murdered on the 3rd of August, 1946. Many believe he was a victim in a series of politically
assassinations by the Soviets. Other artists including Anatol Fox and Elena Pope met similar fates.
In 1998, his son, Constantin Popovici , who survived the attack, told a local newspaper his
recollections about that tragic night. John Gregory Popovich had read to him the "Snoavele" by Peter Ispirescu that
night. At about 1am the household was woken by the sound of gunfire. His father who was desparately trying to
protect his family was hit by a blast from an automatic weapon as he reached for a door. The wounded artists was
rushed to hospital where he later died. When the distraught family returned home under the protection of a
policeman they again were attacked by a spray of gunfire. There house had been ransacked. One of Constantin
Popovici's most treasued possessions is the book his father read to him that night.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to Simon Akkerman and
Doreena Nita for kindly providing the photos.