On an August Saturday morning I left home with a secure target: to visit the Storck Museum in Bucharest. I had recently heard of it so I first looked for it on the map. A visit to the Storck Art Museum for just an hour made me discover an old house in the heart of the capital, the story of some extraordinary people and a legend about Urlatoarea waterfall in Busteni.
How to get to the Storck Museum?
Behind the Grigore Alexandrescu Children’s Hospital and a 10-minute walk from Victoriei Square, on Vasile Alecsandri Street, number 16, there is a red, pompeian red house with a white-colored wooden floor. The flag of Romania waving in the wind makes you belive that there is something there, and if the sense of observation helps you, you will see on the house a golden plaque that clarifies what hosts the Storck House, today the Storck Art Museum.
We paid 5 lei at the entrance and then we left ourself guided through the chambers of the house by a very gentle guide, with a warm voice that gave us more information than we could handle.
Home to Frederic Storck and Cecilia Cutescu Storck
The house belonged to the Storck family: he, Frederic, a sculptor with many famous works, she, Cecilia, a well-known painter (she painted the history of the Romanian trade in Aula Magna of ASE), the first female university professor in Europe. The two had their workshops on the ground floor of the building on Vasile Alecsandri street and the apartment upstairs .
Currently, the museum operates only on the ground floor, the upper floor being dedicated to the Storck heirs. The museum features Frederic’s sculptures and paintings and sketches of Cecilia. One of the rooms is dedicated to Balchik landscape, where the family had a holiday home, today in ruins. My favorite was the model of Curtea de Arges Monastery, made by Karl Storck, Frederic’s father, who had been exposed on Cecilia’s sketches in various corners of Europe. You can find here the visiting hours for Storck museum.
Unfortunately, the building that hosts these marvels is quite degraded. All rooms have traces of dirt, infiltration and mold. It is a pity of these works and of the house that is falling apart every day!
Another pleasant surprise of this museum was the garden: a corner of tranquility with plant species from various parts of the world, interspersed with stone statues. My gaze was instantly attracted by the Japanese willow in the middle of the garden.
Of all the stories told by our guide (a lady very passionate about the history of Storck family and we were more than keen to listen her!) the most interesting was the legend of Urlatoarea waterfall in Busteni.
Legend of Urlatoarea waterfall in Busteni
It is said that a girl from Prahova named Orlanda was loved at the same time by two twin brothers. Because she did not know which one to choose, she decided to climb the mountain and to get out of there, and the one who would catch her to become her husband. The two brothers faced each other, but none of them managed to catch her, the girl finding her death. From the place where she collapsed, it dropped the Urlatoarea waterfall, and the two brothers, seeing Orlanda dead, were petrified of pain, and became the mountains Jepii Mari and Jepii Mici.
The story was illustrated by three statues, representing both brothers and Orlanda. The statue of Orlanda was called “Sleeping Beauty” and those of the two brothers are called Giants, one of which is carved by Frederic Storck. The statuary group was split: Sleeping Beauty can be admired today in Herastrau Park and the two Giants in Carol Park on both sides of the alley that climbs to the Mausoleum.
The visit of the museum does not take more than an hour, but all the interesting things I’ve learned have been worth this hour. More about the artist’s life can be found in the autobiographical book Cecilia Cutescu Storck The Fresco of a Life. It is not a well-known museum, but its stories and the way it is presented by the guide makes me recommend it to anyone who loves art.