Updated: Jul 21, 2021
Born in 1721, Baron Samuel von Brukenthal - Governor of the Grand Principality of Transylvania (1777-1787) - remained in the collective memory not so much for the political and administrative role that history has confer it to him, but mostly for the cultural achievements he assumed.
Samuel von Brukenthal is the founder of the first public museum opened in Romania - the Brukenthal Museum, an institution whose bicentennial activity was celebrated in 2017.
His impressive art collection brings together over 1,000 paintings (XV - XVIII centuries), about 1,000 prints (European engraving XVI - XVIII centuries) and 2,000 maps and drawings, a book library of about 16,000 volumes, impressive collections of numismatics, minerals and antiques all donated to the public, which he considered his spiritual heir.
Protector of local artistic circles, from painters to musicians, Samuel von Brukenthal set the patterns of the Sibiu cultural environment that would materialize, in 2007, in the first European Capital of Culture of Romania.
The survival of cultural values, products of great spirits of mankind, is due to personalities such as Samuel von Brukenthal. Thus, we can speak today in Romania of Titian, Veronese, Cranach, Van Eyck, Brueghel, Memling, to name just a few of the masters who can be admired in Brukenthal National Museum in Sibiu.
The vast legacy left by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal urges us to pay homage, in 2021, to the importance of his activity as a collector and founder of cultural institutions, on the occasion of the third century anniversary of his birth on July 25th 2021.
Text by Sabin Adrian Luca, University Professor
General Director of the Brukenthal National Museum.