Constantin Piliuta



Constantin Piliuta



Birth Date




Death Date



artist, illustrator, theatre performer

Biographical Text

Constantin Piliuta was born in 1929 in Botosani, north east Romania. Initially he wanted to become an actor, but after failing to get a place at the theatre school, he instead went to the Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest (1945-9), studying under Alexander Ciucurencu. Among his friends were many actors, and he created stage sets for theatre productions. He also enjoyed a brief hippy period in the sixties.

His first show was in 1956 in Bucharest. He continued to take part in annual state exhibitions regularly, as well as international exhibitions of Romanian art in Moscow (1964), Delhi (1965), Budapest, Zagreb, Belgrade, Novi Sad (1966), Moscow (1969) and Warsaw (1970). He also had regular solo exhibitions between 1957 and 1967 at the Venice Biennales, and in Havana and Malmo.

Piliuta studied human types and attitudes and was regarded as an excellent book illustrator and theatre designer. He worked in a meticulous, almost calligraphic, manner, spending a long time on each drawing. He was awarded the Artists Union (UAP) Award in 1967, and the Ion Andreescu Prize of the Romanian Academy in 1974.

He painted stylized portraits of Ceausescu. Allegedly these were undertaken against his will: his wife claimed that canvas was bought for him and he was pressurized into painting. These portraits were not simply empty Socialist Realist propaganda, but Piliuta retained his own distinctive, almost naïve, style, thus humanizing Ceausescu (to the dictator’s great delight).

He also painted monumental works of art stretching across buildings, and frescoed portraits of Romanian kings and scholars, glorifying the nation’s heroic past which then became the basis for Ceausescu’s ‘apotheosis’.

He died in 2003. His pictures still sell well in Romania, but according to his wife, there are many forgeries among them.

Entry authored by Dr Alex Popescu, Dec 2016




“Constantin Piliuta,” Tyler Collection of Romanian and Modern Art: University of Tasmania, accessed May 29, 2024,