Ion Nicodim



Ion Nicodim



Birth Date




Death Date



artist, engraver, painter, tapestry designer

Biographical Text

Ion Nicodim was born in 1932 in Constanta, on the Black Sea, as the sixth child to a large family and became an orphan before the age of two. He studied monumental art at the Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest (1950-1956) in the age of Socialist Realism. His work included drawing, painting, sculpture, engravings, lithographs and tapestry.

In 1962 he was awarded a Romanian Academy prize which allowed him to study in France and Italy. He lived and worked in Rome between 1963 and 1968, where he became familiar with classical art and began to explore new means of artistic expression. His first personal exhibition in Rome at Galleria Il Bilico confirmed his value as an artist of European stature. Although his first work was figurative, he soon discovered lyrical forms of abstract art, but he continued to work in figurative and abstract styles simultaneously.

From 1976 the funereal overtones of his works, such as ‘Epitaphs’ and ‘Requiem for the Unknown Soldier’, caused criticism from Communist authorities, because he refused to subscribe to the militant optimism of Socialist Realism.

His introspective and metaphoric style of painting, with its contemplative symbolism, translated well to his work in monumental tapestry. These allegorical tapestries were displayed, among other places, at the National Theatre in Bucharest and the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Nicodim also produced a series of ‘Epithalamiums’, anthropomorphic earth and straw sculptures representing nuptial hymns. His cycle ‘Le Lac Tranquille’ (‘Quiet Lake’, which spanned the late 1960s, 70s and 80s) was described by his friend and mentor Paul Gherasim as reflecting the limpidity of transfiguring forms of contemplation and meditation.

After the criticism provoked by ‘Requiem for the Unknown Soldier’, Nicodim moved to Paris where he set up a studio. He worked there on a memorial project dedicated to the victims of the Romanian Gulag until his death in 2006. The catalogue poster in the Tyler Collection entitled Semn Bun (‘Good Sign’) corresponds to his cycle of Inimi (‘Hearts’) from the 1980s: earth and straw columns with heart-shaped capitals tell the story of plastic transformation – from painted image to relief and sculptural representation.

Entry authored by Dr Alex Popescu, Dec 2016




“Ion Nicodim,” Tyler Collection of Romanian and Modern Art: University of Tasmania, accessed December 4, 2022,