Monastery of HorezuFounded in 1690 by Prince Constantine Brancovan, themonastery of Horezu, in Walachia, is a masterpiece ofthe Brancovan style. It is known for its architecturalpurity and balance, the richness of its sculpturaldetail, the treatment of its religious compositions, itsvotive portraits and its painted decorative works. Theschool of mural and icon painting established at themonastery in the 18th century was famous throughoutthe Balkan region.
Wallachia was a Romanian principality that was recognized as anindependent state in the 14th century. It was never part of theOttoman Empire and so it was able to undergo a post- Byzantinecultural evolution that distinguishes it from the artistic Balkan familyto which it belongs.The only artistic centre in this region in the 17th century was MountAthos (Greece), which prospered as a result of the patronage ofsovereigns and nobility in the Romanian principalities and Russia.The Athonite tradition was fostered in Wallachia by its rich andcultured Cantacuzene rulers and gave rise to the flowering ofWallachian art.
The Monastery of Horezu was founded in 1690 and richly endowedby the Cantacuzene Prince Constantin Brancovan. He and his familywere responsible for the creation of many monastic ensembles andchurches in Wallachia, paintings, richly adorned with wallsumptuous iconostases, and other decorations. This artistic effortwas followed by many other noblemen and churchdignitaries, giving rise to the remarkable artistic flowering knownas Brancovan art.
The catholicon of the Monastery, dedicated to Saints Constantine andHelena, was built in 1690-92 and the interior decoration was completed twoyears later, the work of the Greek artist Constantinos, who founded thecelebrated school of mural and icon painters of Horezu. Other buildingsconstructed at the same period included the princes residence, ranges of two-storey monks cells, kitchens, and other monastic offices. The entrance wasoriginally in the centre of the western wall of the enclosure, where theparaklesion was located, but this was shortly afterwards converted to arefectory, access being provided beneath the bell-tower on the south wall.
The church of Bolnica, which is a sub-group of the main Monastery, wasfounded by Princess Maria, wife ofConstantin Brancovan. Othercontemporary foundations bymembers of the princely family includethe skites of the Holy Apostles and StStephen. The Church of the HolyAngels at the former skite of Tiganiawas founded by the Horezucommunity in the first decade of the18th century.The Monastery suffered badly in theTurko-Austrian and Turko-Russian warsof 1716-18 and 1787-1789respectively, all the buildings lyingoutside the enclosure being destroyed.