Costin Petrescu (b. May 10, 1872, Pitesti, Romania – d. October 15, 1954, Bucharest, Romanian People’s Republic) was a painter, university professor, president of the Fine Arts Union and Romanian publicist.
After attending the gymnasium at “Brătianu”, in Pitești, Costin Petrescu transferred to a school in Bucharest, following some misunderstandings he had with his father.
Costin Petrescu has been associated with painting since childhood, because both his father and grandfather were craftsmen.
He began his higher studies in the field of painting in 1892 in Bucharest, where he attended, for almost 3 years, the courses of the School of Fine Arts, under the direct guidance of the painter George Demetrescu Mirea.
He also attended the courses of the School of Architecture where he mentored the architect George Sterian.
He continued his studies in Vienna, Munich and Paris where, benefiting from a scholarship, he studied at the Julian Academy, under the guidance of Jean-Paul Laurens.
He practiced various genres, so that his work underwent multiple influences, from the romantic symbolism of oriental scenes to the post-impressionist way of interpreting historical themes and portraits. He exhibited at the Artistic Youth and the Official Salon.
In the last period of creation, Petrescu had adopted a free way of interpretation, using vivid colors and a schematic drawing.
In the years between the two world wars, Costin Petrescu painted a series of portraits of cultural personalities, such as Gheorghe Lazăr, Vasile Lascăr and Dem I. Dobrescu. Over the years he painted about 400 portraits.
Between 1925 and 1926 he gave general courses on fresco at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lyon. As a result of his meritorious work, he was awarded the title of “honorary professor” of the Academy of Fine Arts in Lyon.
Although in his time the monumental mural was made in oil, when he was commissioned a great monumental work for the Romanian Athenaeum, he chose to make it in fresco, thus revitalizing an old technique. He worked for about five years on this painting “al fresco”, and at the inauguration, in 1939, it was the largest work of art ever made in Romania. 3 meters wide and 70 meters long, the fresh sea stretches above the lodges, around the dome drum, except where the stage is located.