The masterpiece of sculptor Constantin Brancusi is located in the city of Targu Jiu, the capital of Gorj County, comprising a series of monumental modern sculptures built on an axis that crosses the city from east to west. The Endless Column, the Gate of the Kiss and the Table of Silence, the last two being linked by the Chairs Alley, form the “Heroes Path”, one of the most important and valuable artistic complex in the world, created in 1937-1938 by the sculptor who was born in a peasant family from a village not far from Targu Jiu.
Location of Heroes Path Monumental Complex
The Heroes Path monumental complex can be freely visited by anyone, being part of the city heritage. Located on an axis which divides the city of Targu Jiu east-west for about 1 km, this attraction is definitely the most interesting cultural site in Gorj County and maybe even this part of Romania, considered by many as the most important work of the Brancusi. The first part of this Path is located in the central park of the city, on the banks of Jiu River. From there, it continues through the center of Targu Jiu, reaching the Endless Column Park, in the eastern side. It can easily be visited for free and on foot, starting from either point.
Presentation of Heroes Path Monumental Complex
Trying to discern the symbols and deeper meanings behind these masterpieces has been a difficult task along the years, as each person understands something else about what drove Constantin Brancusi to create this modern wonder. Each visitor usually admires the simple architecture of the three main works, envisioning the main artistic line behind their creation as a complex. What is unquestionable about this majestic masterpiece is that is universal, having the same value over time and space, the column continuing to be endless forever and for anyone, the gate will always signify eternal love and communion. Inspired from the traditional rural art and architecture of Romanian villages, Brancusi has succeeded into creating the perfect form, a natural art that seems to have deep roots into the ground.
Starting in the Central Park of Targu Jiu, right on the bank of the river Jiu, the first monument of Heroes Path Complex is the Table of Silence, many art critics even considering the river as a part of the Heroes Path monumental complex. The central table is surrounded by twelve small chairs spread around in a symmetrical and circular fashion. While the table is a perfect cylinder, the chairs are clepsydrae disposed at equal distance from the table and between themselves. Signifying time and contemplation, this monument impresses with its dimensions and symmetry, offering a pleasant and almost perfect equilibrium to the eye. The Chairs’ Alley continues the axis and links the Table of Silence to the Gate of the Kiss.
The Gate of the Kiss is located at the entrance of the park towards the city, having the green nature behind and bustling streets ahead. The stylized symbol of the kiss has been a recurrent theme of Constantin Brancusi throughout his life, trying to reach the minimal shapes and forms to convey a man and a woman sharing a kiss. The gate itself resembles a triumphal arch of sorts, although at a smaller scale, with two columns that hold the stylized kiss symbol on all sides, united by another horizontal column of perfect proportions, creating a unique blank space underneath, where lovers stop for kiss every now and then.
Passing through the city centre, the axis follows the Heroes Path street, until reaching the Column Park where the Endless Column stands tall, creating a veritable stairway to heaven. The whole complex cannot be decomposed in singular monuments, as it has to be perceived as Brancusi intended, a whole that gives a deeper meaning than the architectural and artistic value of its parts. The Column is made of cast iron and rises almost 30 meters from the ground, formed by 16 angular clepsydra elements. By cutting in half the first and last element, the monument seems to grow from the ground and continue forever towards the sky, creating a link between the living and the departed.