Henric Trenk

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Henric Trenk
Henric Trenk - Oltul la Carlige.jpg
The Olt River at Cârlige (1868)
Born 1818
Died 1892
Nationality Swiss, Romanian
Known for painting, illustration
Movement Romanticism
Patron(s) Alexandru Odobescu

Henric Trenk (also known as Henri or Heinrich Trenk; 1818–1892) was a Swiss-born Romanian painter and graphic artist, best known for his Romantic landscapes and his association with writer and amateur archaeologist Alexandru Odobescu.


Born to an ethnic German family in Zug, Trenk studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, in the Kingdom of Prussia's Rhine Province.[1] He first arrived in the Austrian-ruled region of Transylvania around 1846,[1][2] and moved to Wallachia in 1851.[2] He remained in Wallachia as it became a constituent part of the Romanian Kingdom, and never again left its territory.[1] Later in life, Trenk was naturalized a Romanian.[3]

He came to associate with Odobescu, and was appointed by the latter official illustrator of the magazines printed by the Romanian Commission of Historical Monuments.[2] Trenk traveled throughout the regions of Muntenia and Oltenia, creating a large number of oil paintings featuring rural scenes, historical relics, and natural scenes—including several depictions of the Olt River near the Cozia Monastery.[4] For a while, he taught drawing at a Bucharest gymnasium, and had the major Romanian painter Ion Andreescu among his students.[2]


With support from Odobescu, who was attempting to build a record of historical locations and folklore, Henric Trenk documented places of interest, as well as genre scenes in the Wallachian Plainfairs, inns, lodgings, as well as more exotic portrayals of Roma people and the distinctively-dressed Romanian postilions.[2][4] While admired for their exactitude (unprecedented in Romanian art),[2][5] these works have drawn criticism for their impersonality.[5]

Among his most distinctive works is a mountainous landscape of the Olt at the meanders of Cozia (known locally as Cârlige, "Hooks"), which was attributed by some to his nostalgia for the Alpine landscape.[5] A similar feeling motivation was deduced from his earlier paintings, the Romantic picturesque landscapes showing the Southern Carpathian areas of Transylvania.[2]

Trenk was also active in research towards improving the paint used in fine arts, publishing in several chemistry journals. His aim was to find a paint which would be durable, but also matte, avoiding distracting reflections on the painting's surface. His successful invention of such a paint was announced in a February 1869 note by Carol Szathmari, court painter of Domnitor Carol I of Romania.[6]


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  1. ^ a b c Drăguţ et al., p.138
  2. ^ a b c d e f g (in Romanian) Alina Ciufu, "Creaţie a plasticianului Henrik Trenk, în patrimoniul Muzeului de Artă", in Telegraf - Constanţa, December 21, 2006; retrieved July 22, 2007
  3. ^ Bulletin Scientifique. Savjet akademija nauka i umjetnosti SFRJ, 1991, p.2
  4. ^ a b Drăguţ et al., p.138-139
  5. ^ a b c Drăguţ et al., p.139
  6. ^ Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, Volume 4, Ed. E.A. Seemann, 1869, p.120


  • Vasile Drăguţ, Vasile Florea (ro), Dan Grigorescu (ro), Marin Mihalache, Pictura românească în imagini, Editura Meridiane, Bucharest, 1970. OCLC 5717220

External links[edit]

Media related to Henric Trenk at Wikimedia Commons