Proclamation of the Unification of the Principalities

Modern History
Canvas, oil, wood
Oil on canvas

    Proclamation of the Unification of the Principalities (by Theodor Aman)

    Texts:  Dr. Oana ILIE Photo: Marius AMARIE, George NICA

    Easel painting; historically themed composition.

    The painting represents the members of the Elective Assembly of Bucharest at the moment they voted for Alexandru Ioan Cuza to be the ruler of Walachia, on on January 24th 1859. The 62 men are shown in posing attitudes, while the author at the same time renders the pressure of the masses, waiting outside, surrounding the Mitropoly, exertend upon the representatives in the hall. The work of art was completed in 1861. In a room with windows in the background, with a group of men sitting or standing around three tables covered in red cloth; in the foreground on the right, toward the centre, three men gesturing, one of whom has his back turned away; another group of characters stand to the left; in the middle of the background a dignitary holding a cross in his raised right hand, and two other men behind him.

    Signed and dated lower right, in black: Th. Aman / 1861


    In accordance with the decisions of the Paris Convention (1858), elections were organized in Iași and Bucharest, whereby representatives were chosen from the Elective Assemblies, who were in turn to elect the ruler of the two Principalities. 

    In Walachia, the proceedings of the Elective Assembly started on January 22nd. At this date, Alexandru Ioan Cuza had been elected ruler of Moldavia. In Bucharest, the majority in the Assembly was held by the conservatives (33 of the 64 representatives). Among the candidates were former rulers Gheorghe Bibescu and Barbu Știrbey, while on the side of the National Party, the odds were most favorable to Nicolae Golescu. The situation evolved in the direction desired by the National Party due to the appeal to mass pressure. On January 23rd , thousands of people, mobilized and harboring unionist sentiments, marched on the streets and filled the courtyard of the Mitropoly, where the Assembly held its meetings. Understanding the nature of the situation that had been created, the conservative majority, gathered in the Oteteleșanu house, resorted to a stratagem, boycotting the following day’s elections. For this purpose, they inform the councilors of the guarantor powers that they will no longer be partaking in the elections. Their point of view is not shared by them. Meanwhile, the unionist representatives, gathered at the Hotel Concordia in order to establish a candidate to the throne of Walachia. Dimitrie Ghica proposes the election of Al. Ioan Cuza and, after long debates, at two o’clock in the morning, the proposition receives unanimous adhesion. The next morning, on January 24th, this decision is announced by Vasile Boerescu to the representatives of the majority, in a secret meeting requested of the Assembly’s president. Following the meeting, and under the pressure of the masses, the conservative representatives sign a document whereby they pledge to vote for Cuza. Then, after verifying the mandates of the representatives and taking the oath, “we proceeded, through nominal appeal and secret vote, to elect our ruler. The election begins and, after reading the ballots, His Holiness, our Metropolitan Father, president of the Assembly, proclaims that the Ruler of Walachia has been elected, with the unanimity of the votes expressed, i.e. 64, to be prince of Moldavia, Alexandru Ioan Cuza”. Cuza learns of his election as ruler of Walachia through a telegram sent from Bucharest on January 24th by metropolitan father Nifon.