Ion Frunzetti

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Ion Frunzetti (Bacău, January 7/20, 1918 — Bucharest, September 11, 1985)

Anthropologist of culture interested in the philosophical approach of the art phenomenon, critic and art historian, professor, writer, translator.


He attended primary school in Târgu-Ocna, and secondary school in Galaţi, Focşani and Timişoara. He studied (1936–40) at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of Bucharest. Quite early he made a name for himself as a poet, translator, essayist, and columnist of visual art events, trends he was keen on all his life, and finalised in volumes of poetry and numerous translations from various European languages. He obtained (1940) his degree with a thesis on Problema tragicului în artele plastice (The Issue of Tragic in the Plastic Arts), under the guidance of Tudor Vianu. During 1944–46, he was an assistant lecturer at the Aesthetics Department of the University in Bucharest. He prepared his doctor’s dissertation (Tipologia ornamenticii populare româneşti – Typology of Romanian Popular Ornamentation) under the direction of George Oprescu and I. D. Ştefănescu; he handed over (1943) his paper, but social-historical events prevented him from presenting it. In 1951, he was dismissed from both university and journalism. He became a scientific researcher of the Art History Institute thanks to G. Oprescu, and in three years his name reappeared in the field of art critic. In 1956 he rejoined higher education, teaching history and art theory at the Institute of Plastic Arts in Bucharest. In a decade (1977), he became head of the history and art theory chair. He was (1972–75) a head manager of the Meridiane Publishing House, (1973–75) a director of the Institute of Art History of the Romanian Academy and – from 1977 until the end of his life – a vice-president of Romania’s Union of Plastic Artists.


Although I.F.’s list of publications during his life is substantial, his works of theoretic-philosophical character came out posthumously. Formă şi semn – Form and Sign (comprising, among others, his graduation and doctorate papers) is a work “at the border of literature and philosophy”, as its author characterises it. His approach, marked by a quest of identifying philosophical ideas in art, is based on the idea that art cannot exist in the absence of a philosophical horizon. Art criticism is consequently a peculiar type of philosophizing, distinct from both general philosophy and art philosophy, as it refers to the work of art grasped by intuition in its concreteness. As a follower of Frobenius (to whose works translated into Romanian he wrote prefaces), I.F. is interested in the unity of human culture. Starting from concrete plastic creations, he expands his explanations and interpretations over the entire culture. According to his view, particular cultures are complementary, not disjunctive. I.F. believes that spirit appeared always and significantly as a “soul of a people”: the diverse primary conceptions on the world and life account for the forming of the respective national consciousnesses. Accordingly, I.F. examines the various forms of Weltanschauung (European and mostly extra-European) in a double perspective: both as proper visions on existence, and as artistic expressions. A special place is held, in I.F.’s analysis, by the Romanian phenomenon, characterized (at least by the 20th century) by a “participative”, pre-logic thinking, different from the modern European determinist thinking (that can miss the totality of existence). In defining this type of thinking, I.F. resorts to the works of Émile Durkheim and Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, according to which [who claim that] the participative thinking is grounded on the idea that each fact or object of the real world takes part in contexts of deeds and things invisibly bound to each other, and becomes manifest simultaneously on the two plans, physic and metaphysic. Using Mircea Eliade’s concept of “cosmical homology”, I.F. develops a theory of the stylistic constants peculiar to the Romanian cultural space.



    * Dimitrie Paciurea, Bucureşti, Editura Meridiane, 1971.

    * Pegas între Meduză şi Perseu (vol. I: Gâlceava şi împăcarea văzului cu lumea; vol. II: Formă şi semn), Bucureşti, Editura Meridiane, 1985.

    * Arta românească în secolul XIX, Cuvânt înainte de Dan Grigorescu, Bucureşti, Editura Meridiane, 1991.

    * Scrieri, I, II, antologie îngrijită de Florica Cruceru, Prefaţă de Amelia Pavel, Constanţa, Editura Europolis, 1997.

    * În căutarea tradiţiei, culegere îngrijită de Florica Cruceru, Prefaţă de Dan Grigorescu, Bucureşti, Editura Meridiane, 1998.

    * Studii critice, Postfaţă şi ediţie îngrijită de Florica Cruceru, Cuvânt înainte de Andrei Pleşu, Bucureşti, Editura Fundaţiei Culturale Române (Colecţia Antropologie culturală), 2000.

    * Disparate, Cuvânt înainte şi antologie de texte de Florica Cruceru, Prefaţă de Ruxandra Demetrescu, Bucureşti, Editura Meridiane, 2002 [volumul conţine referinţe semnate de Constantin N. Constantin, Liviu Călin, Cornel Ungureanu, Andrei Pleşu, Dan Grigorescu, Vasile Drăguţ, Teodor Redlow, Brăduţ Covaliu, Edgar Papu, Mihai Ispir, Radu Bercea, Adina Nanu, Simona Rusu].


    * „Viziunea folclorică a omologiei cosmice la Brâncuşi”, în Colocviul Brâncuşi, Bucureşti, Editura Meridiane, 1968; în Esthetique roumaine contemporaine, Bucureşti, Centre d’information et de documentation pour les sciences sociales, 1972; în vol. antologic Brâncuşi, artist-filosof, Târgu-Jiu, Editura Fundaţiei „C. Brâncuşi”, 2001 (sub egida Academiei Române, Institutul de Filosofie).

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