Some of the most renowned sculptors we know today use raw materials such as wood, ceramic, clay, and marble to create marvelous pieces of art (such as portraits) that imitate reality. For Romanian sculptor Darius Hulea, industrial metals became the medium that allowed him to craft recognizable portraits that show his contemporary and classical artistry.
Using iron, brass, copper wires, stainless steel, Darius creates three-dimensional “sketches” of intellectuals and prominent figures from Romania’s history.
Darius first encountered the art of sculpting during his youth, when folk crafts abound in the village he grew up in. Being skillful runs in this artist’s family; both his grandmother and great grandmother wove traditional geometric fabrics used until today.
On the other hand, his grandfather worked with agricultural tools, which introduced Darius to the power of industrial materials. Knowing what he knew then, he switched from painting to sculpture, an art form that would allow him to merge his interests.
Though he uses contemporary techniques and materials in his works, his sculptures are embedded in the principles of classical drawing. This talented sculptor uses wires of different widths to imitate the pencil strokes of a sketch. Rather than seeing these lines on paper, they’re put together in a three-dimensional structure to achieve the form and feel that Darius intends to create.
“I discovered during my second year of college that the great artists of modern history used the principle of drawing in space or drawing the space through different metallic structures,” the sculptor told My Modern Met. “Some, like Picasso, used recycled materials or, like Calder or David Smith, industrial materials.
That moment was the turning point of the sculptures that I am doing now. For me, this type of drawing is what we find in the sketches of the great artists of the Renaissance like Michelangelo and Da Vinci—serious and realistic compositions that anyone can understand.”
By using metal as his medium, Darius finds that he is free to express his unique artistry. Fine wires can create shadings, while thicker wires can yield bolder contours. Metal has no limitations, and that gives this artist the liberty to craft modern portraits of remarkable figures from his home country’s history.
“I hope that people will understand that I do nothing but draw in a new way, in a durable material of the past,” he said. “I can then explore and research, as an artist, mythical, Renaissance, and modern thinking by finding three-dimensional examples that describe us now in a history of the past.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see some of his most astonishing portraits.
Emil Cioran is a philosopher and essayist noted for his works delving on topics relating to suffering, decay, and nihilism.
Lucian Blaga is a philosopher, poet, playwright, and novelist highly acclaimed for his originality.
Mircea Eliade is a historian of religion, a fiction writer, and a philosopher. He established standards in religious studies that endure to this day.
King Michael I wed Queen Anne on June 10, 1948, in Athens, Greece. They were married for 68 years, making them the longest royal couple in Romania’s history.
Ferdinand I was King of Romania from 1914 to 1927. He was a member of the Swabian branch of Germany’s ruling House of Hohenzollern, yet, he sided against the Central Powers in World War I. This move caused Romania to emerge as a much-enlarged kingdom at the war’s end.
Ion D. Sîrbu philosopher, novelist, essayist, and dramatist known for his novel Adio, Europa! (Goodbye, Europe!), which was published posthumously.
Another portrait of Sîrbu.
Queen Marie, also known as Marie of Edinburgh, was the last queen of Romania as the wife of King Ferdinand I.
Constantin Brâncuși was a Romanian sculptor, painter, and photographer considered as a pioneer of modernism.
Another portrait of Brâncuși.