Sculptural Ensemble Constantin Brancusi Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

The Scultpural Ensemble is a collection of three sculptures completed in 1938 by the artist, Constantin Brancusi, to honour his fellow Romanians who died during the First World War. Brancusi was so moved by the commission from the National League of Gorj Women that he refused any monetary reward.

The Ensemble consists of The Endless Column, The Gate of the Kiss and The Table of Silence. The trio of sculptures is arranged along a west to east axis to symbolise how the dead will be resurrected to face God on the Day of Judgement. The simplistic, geometric column is sometimes referred to as The Column of the Infinite. It is symbolic of the triumph of infinty over death and the sacrifice of the Romanians who fought to defend Târgu Jiu where the Sculptural Ensemble is located. The needle-like column stands at a height of 96.13 feet/29.3 metres and consists of fifteen rhomboidal modules stacked on top of each other. There is a half unit at the base to represent the point at which Romania entered the war and another half at the pinnacle which symbolises infinity that never comes to an end. The modules were manufactured by Brancusi's friend, Ștefan Georgescu-Gorjan.

The Gate of the Kiss

This element of the Sculptural Ensemble stands 16.8 feet/5.3 metres in height and is carved from local Banpotoc travertine marble which has a soft, honey colouring. It is in the form of a post and lintel triumphal arch and echoes the gateways installed at the entrances to churchyards and many Romanian homes. The arch symbolises the spiritual journey of the dead as they move from one world to another. Brancusi was heavily influenced by Romanian folklore and included his own version of the symbols traditionally etched onto gates to ward away evil. Forty pairs of embracing figures are on the lintel and the supporting pillars have a stylised kiss of two semi-circles, a device Brancusi frequently used in other sculptures. The Gate of the Kiss represents the love between the dead and those left behind.

The Table of Silence

The final piece of the Sculptural Ensemble is a circular table carved from limestone surrounded by twelve stone stools in the shape of an hourglass and arranged with equal spacing. The empty stools represent the void left by the soldiers who left for battle and never returned. The symbolism of the sculpture is inevitably compared to the twelve disciples of Jesus who were seated around the table in Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.