At the beginning of the new 21st century National Art Museum of Moldova became the owner of an important collection of base sculpture. Thus, at present it counts more than 900 items and represents a rich material for research and understanding of those complicated processes which are taking place in the sculptural art.
Museum’s collection is important not only from the numerical point of view but also from the point of view of range of the genres and motifs, diversity of stylistic trends, craftsmanship of treating the material – wood, stone, bronze, marble, ceramics etc.
The evolution of professional sculpture in Basarabia was deeply marked by the art of Alexandru Plamadeala who created medals, portraits and numerous sculptural compositions. The greater part of his works was donated in 1945 by his wife Olga to the National Art Museum of Moldova.
The majority of the works of Moldovan artists date back with the after war period. Large monographic collections are dedicated to famous masters of the older generation who made their professional studies in the 30ies: C. Cobizev, L. Dubinovski, L. Fitov. Their names are closely related to the evolution of post-war sculpture. Numerous works representing different types and genres are a real testimony of the feverish creation of the following generation who made their studies in Russia, Baltic countries, Ukraine and Moldova. They integrated into cultural life of the 60ies: A. Picunov, Naum Epelbaum, Brunhilda Epelbaum-Marchenco, V. Rotaru, G. Dubrovina, Iuri Canashin, Iuri Horovski etc. A range of interesting works reflect the artistic searches of the young artists of the 90ies.
The contemporary national sculpture takes its origin in the medieval layers of the culture of people who has been living for centuries on the territory of Moldova. Sculpture was an element of the architectural decoration: wood and stone crosses near crossroads, springs, churches and graves. The crucifixions represented a combination of relieve and colored sculpture in the round. For centuries popular sculptors created their own style in which the archaic simplicity expresses the emotional message and sometimes a deep drama. The popular character of biblical personages reveals suffering. It embodies the ideal of spiritual beautifulness with the specific sincerity of popular sculptors. Despite the spontaneity and naivety, the images are full of life, they express the inner tension, they inspire the professional sculptors and influence all the genres of modern art.
In the 60ies more and more artists practice the small sculpture. V. Kiticari, A. Silitski, N. Meshkite, I. Baranciuc and others mainly prefer ceramics. The decorative aspect of their works is not due to the connection with the environment but to the renewal of the plastic language.
Despite all the difficulties, the general process of the development of the modern plastics is characterized by an incredible variety of trends, methods and search for new expressions.