Greatest Romanians Of All Time (1)

Greatest Romanians Of All Time is a new category on our website and Romania In Our Hearts launches it today!

This series of posts about the most important Romanians of all time does not have a predetermined and limited number of peopleI am eagerly looking forward your proposals!

It will not be a ranking, but rather a gallery of great personalities of Romania, whether they are known or unknown. They will not be presented in a certain order, by domain, importance or other criteria, but in a random way.

Each post will be structured as follows:

  1. The number in the gallery (it does not mean a position, but a simple numbering to know how many figures have been presented until then)
  2. The name and the years of birth and death
  3. Photo
  4. Nationality

  5. Ethnicity
  6. Short presentation
  7. Field
  8. Achievements
  9. Admirers
  10. Quote about Romania or the Romanians

I have established a list of fields in which the Romanians have come to the fore:

  • Aviation
  • Literature
  • Medicine
  • Politics
  • Sports
  • Cinematography
  • Physics

  • Chemistry
  • Modelling and Fashion
  • Music
  • Leadership
  • Engineering and Architecture
  • Journalism
  • Theatre
  • Sculpture
  • Painting
  • Philanthropy

Greatest Romanians Of All Time (1)

Greatest Romanians of All Time (1)

1. Queen Marie of Romania (1875 – 1938)

Greatest Romanians - 1

Queen Marie of Romania in the 1900s

  • Nationality: Romanian, British
  • Ethnicity/Origins: ~ 90% German, ~5% Russian, ~5% English, French and Danish
  • Short presentation: Marie of Romania was Queen consort of Romania from 1914 to 1927, as the wife of Ferdinand I of Romania
  • Fields: Leadership, Politics, Literature, Charity, Journalism, Fashion, Sports
  • Notoriety level: international
  • Achievements:

 one of the most important women in the history of Romania (source)

 one of Romania’s greatest leaders of all time, the diplomat who decisively contributed to the realization of the most important moment in the history of Romania, the Union of all Romanians in 1918, as a delegate to the Paris Peace Conference (source 1, 2)
♦ the first royal celebrity ever (source)
♦ first queen to ever grace the cover of Time Magazine (source)
♦ 3rd monarch ever to be on the cover of Time Magazine (source)
♦ 3rd woman ever on the cover of Time (source)
♦ first queen to ever pass in review the French honor guard (source)
♦ one the world’s most powerful women of the first half of the 20th century (source)
 first monarch (king or queen) to visit the United States (source)
♦ the dignitary who received the greatest reception in the history of New York City (at least until the time of her visit in 1926) (source)
♦ first woman in history to be appointed corresponding member of the French Academy of Beaux-Arts (source)
♦ one of the first royal writers ever (source)
♦ first woman ever to reach the Great Meteoron monastery and the first non-monah to do so (source)
♦ first monarch who agreed to appear in cosmetic commercials (source)
♦ first royal woman to cut her hair short (source)
♦ most beautiful queen of the first half of the 20th century (source)
♦ first monarch to be named honorary member of the Sioux tribe (source)
♦ first British princess to marry a Roman Catholic since the days of the Stuarts (source)
♦ first British princess to deliberately forfeit her rights to succession to the throne of England (source)
♦ first woman ever to preside a symposium of the The Royal Literary Fund (RLF), an important literary organisation in Britain (source)
♦ most important spokesperson of Pond’s in the ’20s and the ’30s. Pond’s is today one of the oldest and biggest skincare brands in the world (source)
♦ one of the first women ever to cross Germany at the wheel of a car(in 1909) (source)
♦ one of the best women chauffeurs in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century (source)
♦ In 1938, a week after her death, Queen Marie of Romania became the first member of a royal house in the world for whom there was dedicated a liturgy at the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow since the Bolshevik Revolution (in 21 years, more exactly, from 1917 until the year of her death, 1938). Under the Communist rule, the Russian Church was transformed into a persecuted and martyred Church. In the first five years after the Bolshevik revolution, 28 bishops and 1,200 priests were executed and many noblemen.
 Queen Marie of Romania was fluent in English, French, Romanian and German.
  • Admirers:

 Georges Clemenceau (Prime Minister of France)
 Philippe Pétain (Marshal of France and Chief of the French State)
 Raymond Poincaré (Prime Minister and later President of France)
 Virginia Woolf (English writer)
 Colette (French writer)
 Loie Fuller (American pioneer modern dance and theatrical lighting techniques)
 Dorothy Parker (American writer)
 Coco Chanel (French designer)
 Mary Pickford (famous Canadian actress)
 Lucian Blaga (renowned Romanian writer)
 Nicolae Iorga (the greatest Romanian historian)
 George Enescu (the greatest Romanian composer)

  • Quote about Romania or the Romanians:
Romania, the country I love and have to live for, stands and stands! I am the link with the past – the one still on guard. Romania and I are one. No joys, no griefs can come to Romania that are not mine!


2. Stella Roman (1904 – 1992)

Greatest Romanians - 2

Stella Roman in Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida

  • Nationality: Romanian
  • Ethnicity/Origins: Romanian
  • Short presentation: Stella Roman was a Romanian operatic soprano whose career brought her leading roles in Italy and the United States
  • Fields: Music
  • Notoriety level: international
  • Achievements:

 the first soprano to ever sing the role of the Empress in Richard Strauss’s “Frau Ohne Schatten” at La Scala. Richard Strauss, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, personally chose her for the premiere of his composition in Milan, Italy, in 1940. (source)
 the Romanian opera singer (male or female) with most appearances on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York: 126 performances, 13 roles, 10 seasons, and all these in only 10 years (from 1941 to 1951). The Metropolitan Opera is the largest classical music organization in North America, known as the venue for the world’s greatest voices. (sources 1, 23)

  • Admirers: 

 Richard Strauss (famous German composer)
 George Enescu (the greatest Romanian composer)
 Zinka Milanov (renowed Croatian soprano)
 Giacomo Lauri-Volpi (Italian tenor)
 Hariclea Darclée (Romanian soprano, a titan in the opera world)
 Angela Gheorghiu (Romanian soprano)

  • Quote about Hariclea Darclée, the first world-famous Romanian soprano:
    She taught me the value of every word and phrase.

3. Constantin Brâncuși (1876 – 1957)

Greatest Romanians - 3

Constantin Brâncuși

  • Nationality: Romanian
  • Ethnicity/Origins: Romanian
  • Short presentation: Constantin Brâncuși was a world-famous Romanian sculptor.
  • Fields: Sculpture
  • Notoriety level: international
  • Achievements:

 the greatest and the most influential sculptor of the twentieth century (sources 12, 3, 4, 5)
 the patriarch of modern sculpture (source)
 the first sculptor introduced abstraction and primitivism into sculpture (sources 1, 2)
 Constantin Brancusi’s series of works titled The Kiss constitutes one of the most celebrated depictions of love in the history of art (source)
 the first modern sculptor to carve works himself. All the sculptors before him used to create a clay model and send the work out to a craftsman to enlarge. (sources 1, 2, 3)
 Constantin Brâncuși is the only modernist sculptor to have two works in the top 10 most expensive sculptures ever sold. The only artist to have more pieces in this ranking is the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti with three works. Giacometti experimented with cubism and surrealism. (source)
The Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși at Târgu Jiu is considered to be one of the greatest works of 20th century outdoor sculpture. (sources 1, 2, 3)

  • Admirers: 
 Pablo Picasso (Spanish artist)
Henri Pierre Roché (French author)
 Auguste Rodin (French sculptor)
Louise Bourgeois (French-American artist)
Marcel Duchamp (French-American painter)
Henri Rousseau (French artist)
Angela Gheorghiu (Romanian soprano)
  • Quote about Romania or the Romanians:
    I, with my new, come from something that is very old… [referring to the millennial Romanian traditions]

4. Angela Gheorghiu (1965 – present)

Angela Gheorghiu in 2013

Angela Gheorghiu in 2013

  • Nationality: Romanian
  • Ethnicity/Origins: Romanian
  • Short presentation: Angela Gheorghiu is a world-famous Romanian operatic soprano, appearing in the world’s most prestigious opera houses and concert halls.
  • Fields: Music
  • Notoriety level: international
  • Achievements:

 one of the greatest Romanian musicians of all time
 the most famous and internationally acclaimed contemporary soprano (source 1, 2)
 one of the most famous contemporary opera singers in the world
 one of the most beautiful contemporary opera singers, often called the last of the divas and named by FHM magazine among the most beautiful women in the world, in 2006. (source 1)

  • Admirers:
 Queen Elisabeth II of the United Kingdom
 Princess Diana of Wales
 Prince Charles of Wales
 Plácido Domingo (Spanish tenor)
 Luciano Pavarotti (Italian tenor)
 José Carreras (Spanish tenor)
 Nadia Comăneci (Romanian gymnast)
 Meryl Streep (American actress)
 King Michael I of Romania
 Grace Bumbry (American opera singer)
 Franco Zeffirelli (Italian film director)
 Barack Obama (President of the United States)
 Michelle Obama (First Lady of the United States) 
  • Quote about Romania or the Romanians:
Wherever I go, I take my loved ones with me. Some are in the concert halls, but most of them are in my heart. We meet every time I come back to my native country. I revisited the Peleș Castle, a place that reminds me that my largest family is, in fact, Romania. I want to show to the world how beautiful my country is and how much I cherish it.


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