Petru Botezatu was born in Romania, where he grew up,
and received his education. After graduating from
The Institute of Fine Arts (Bucharest University) he
became an art teacher, starting at the same time a
highly personal creative journey, in the pursuit of his
own original artistic visions.
Considered a master in
sacred mural artwork before the age of 40, Petru has
become one of the very few artists in the contemporary
world today to have created in the span of a
lifetime extensive cycles of mural sacred artwork.
first throughout Romania, his country of origin, and
later on in countries like Austria, Canada and the USA
to paint vast ensembles of mural paintings, mostly in fresco,
but also in oil and acrylic, he completed
monumental compositions of a tremendous complexity and
spiritual beauty in churches and cathedrals that
belonged to different denominations.
When he finally escaped
the communist regime of Romania, in 1987, becoming a
refugee in Austria, and later on an emigrant in Canada,
his creativity got finally liberated from the
dictatorship constraints and constant censorship,
and became really explosive. He started to produce some
of his major series of original works, many of whom are
later becoming heads of series that he continued,
developed and exhibited in many different art galleries,
and in a variety of shows.
The artist exposed amply
in Austria and later on, after establishing himself in
Canada, his first show in Ottawa was a spectacular sold
out. Petru Botezatu continued to exhibit his
artwork in his own galleries, holding later shows in
Toronto in Montreal and Vancouver. The Museum of
Civilization of Canada acquired one of his most
accomplished piece of sacred artwork, a multi-layered
icon, which is in there permanent display.
In 1994 he
was commissioned to paint the murals of the newly built
Beeson Divinity Chapel at Samford University in
Birmingham Alabama, in USA. With this occasion the
American government granted him in only 2 weeks the
status of permanent resident based on extraordinary
abilities. Thus, he remained for the next 5 years
at Samford University as artist in residence,
showing at the same time his original artwork in the
galleries in the Birmingham area. In the year 2000, he
returned to Romania where he was invited to paint a
monumental cathedral newly built in the city of Zalău.
For the next 17 years he continued to paint the frescoes
of the St. Vinere Cathedral but also other churches in
acrylic and oil, but mostly in fresco.
At the present time
Petru Botezatu lives and creates in these
two parallel worlds, the US and Romania, producing
artwork of a stunning diversity ranging from large
ensembles of public fresco murals to a vast collection
of original paintings, oils and acrylics on canvas,
graphics and mixed media on paper, in formats going from
miniatures to really large canvases.
Petru’s artwork is the
manifestation of a wide range of stylistic and
conceptual concerns, which changed along his existence.
His painting engage the viewer in a symbolical,
metaphorical and often a figurative dialog, with
elements of fantastic and surreal, coming from his
Artist's Presentation Petru Botezatu
Petru Botezatu was born
in Romania in 1940.
Not long before his high
school graduation he became a victim of the newly
installed communist regime in Romania. The young man was
found guilty of political crimes and sentenced to spend
12 years of imprisonment in some of the most atrocious
prisons of the epoch. It was only by a miracle that 3
years later, devastated by the extermination regime he
was subject to, by starvation and forced labor imposed
on detainees, suffering of severe T.B, Petru was
In 1964 the artist was admitted at the Faculty of Fine
Arts, which he graduated with a fine arts teaching
diploma. Though still considered a political dissident
and kept under a close surveillance, for the next decade
the artist was allowed to teach visual arts in the
public schools system. It was a time that the artist
dedicated mostly to intense personal studies and to the
most diverse and assiduous artistic pursuits and
projects having as purpose the advancement of his
artistic knowledge and master ship.
In 1977 Petru abandons
any kind of artistic manifestation or attempt to
publicly exhibit his artwork within the communist
Romania. The decision came as a direct consequence of
the realization that the censorship pressures exerted on
his creation were the result of his refusing to
collaborate in any way with the regime, which made his
career as an artist hit nothing else, but a dead end.
That same year he
returns to the region where he was born, in a sort of
temporary retreat. It is here, in the seclusion of some
of the oldest monasteries in the North Moldavia, where
he rediscovers the enshrouded thesaurus of centuries old
Byzantine mural frescoes. Under the irresistible
influence of their magnificence, totally enthralled by
the ancient beauty hermetically contained in their
spirituality and fascinating expression, he starts
painstaking studies with some of the old and most
secretive masters, parsimoniously sharing their
techniques, hardly passing the secrets of this ancient
mural art from generation to generation.
Consequently, in 1979,
Petru changes gears, when he discovers his most
favorable domain where he could relinquish his
insatiable creativity, his devouring power of creation.
He embarks on the creation of a titanic cycle of sacred
murals, being soon commissioned to paint vast ensembles
of mural paintings, in churches and cathedrals, mostly
in fresco. There will be monumental compositions of a
tremendous complexity, which would allow him not only to
work on a grandiose scale, but would also grant him a
unique chance to give a new artistic and plastic
interpretation from a contemporary perspective to the
entire iconographic program of decorating the orthodox
churches, according to traditions and canons and a dogma
going back to the time of the Byzantine Empire.
efforts, in a never abandoned hope for freedom, Petru
succeeds to obtain a passport with a visa for the
On June 29, 1987, he
officially became a political refugee in Austria.
Almost 2 years
later, he decides to leave Europe and settle down in
Canada, at Ottawa. It was here, in North America where
he first experienced from the early stage of his exile,
a different type of capitalist society ruling the
American continent. The commercialization of the arts,
that he gets to know here, as deploring as the political
communist censorship he once experienced in his country
of origin, became soon another critical obstacle in the
development of his artistic career.
In spite of this he
continues to create major museum quality works of art,
both secular and sacred.
In 1994 the artist has
been summoned from Canada to Birmingham, Alabama, USA,
at Samford University, where he was commissioned to
paint the dome and the 2 apses murals of their newly
built, Renaissance style Chapel of The Divinity School.
For the next 5 years
Petru was an artist in residence at this University,
where he completed a number of very impressive projects
which included sculptures, reliefs, and other paintings
on canvas and panels to decorate the premises of the
Divinity School, besides the very large scale murals.
His artwork was
first shown and acclaimed in the USA in Birmingham,
Alabama, in a solo exhibition celebrating, as part of an
entire series of events, "The Grande Finale" - the
dedication of the Divinity School Chapel.
In 1997 he became
permanent USA resident, due to his extraordinary
abilities, living ever since in Birmingham, Alabama .
Starting 2001when he
was commissioned to paint in fresco, the new Orthodox
Cathedral built by Father Ioan Ghiurco in Zalau, Salaj
(Transylvania) as a replica to Saint Sophia, in
Constantinople (now Istanbul) he returns to Romania,
Considered a master in
painting murals even before the age of 40, Petru grew
up, studied, worked and created during a totalitarian
communist regime of distressful recollection, one of the
most brutal dictatorship in former Easter Europe and
ever in history. The oppression, persecution and
imprisonment which have mutilated his early years,
became unfortunately an everlasting trauma which marked
his entire evolution.
In the pursuit of his
own artistic vision, the artist undertook though a
highly personal Creation Journey.
Petru's creation of an
incredible pluralism and diversity, which almost defies
categorization, spanning over a period of more than 40
years, on different meridians and multiple continents,
resulted in the largest ensembles of public murals in
fresco created in contemporary times, a prodigious
collection of other original artwork, ranging from mixed
media works on paper, to oils or acrylics on canvas, to
sculptures, carvings or reliefs in formats going from
miniature to monumental, both sacred and secular, public
The artist who
completely painted in fresco, tempera, acrylic and oil
an impressive number of religious edifices over his
entire career, is now still involved, and this is the
sixth year - in the monumental project of painting the
frescoes at the St. Vinere Cathedral , which might take
another 2-3 years to be completed. In parallel he
continues to paint the older cathedral of the city of
Zalau, (Transylvania) as well as other projects adding
up together to many thousands of sacred murals he paints
Petru Botezatu's icons
and angels embellish numerous church iconostasis, and a
even larger number of private collections all over the
Though icons are born within the spirituality of the
Orthodox Byzantine Empire, and are a manifestation of an
ancient art, they continue today to influence people
from all walks of life, they exert a undeniable
fascination through their intrinsic symbolism, helping
our contemplation and prayer.
It is the magnificent
and complex art in these objects that render them apt to
absorb the sanctity necessary to make the sacred world
accessible to humanity.
It is the artist genius
which allows the icons to become not only objects of
revelation, but also continuous fountains of Divinity,
true instruments of Divine Revelation.
The iconographer, is the
messenger God chose to reveal to us His invisible
presence. He is the one capable to establish - visually
- through his gift, the unfathomable correspondence
between image and the Holy Scripture.
Government of Canada record: hhttps://app.pch.gc.ca/application/aac-aic/parcourir_resume-browse_summary.app?ansf=TAM&anm=Botezatu%2C+Petru&fID=2&pID1=111&sort1=ascending&ps1=50&lang=en&qlang=en&sort=AM_ASC&pID=1&ps=50
Lareau-Law.ca : Botezatu, Petru (Petbot), 1940-,
(Vallée 93; Bruens 91)