Around the same period, Paciurea started working on a project he would be obsessed with all his life: a monument dedicated to the Romanian national poet, Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889). A solitary genius, the incarnation of the misunderstood poet, tormented by the chimeras that his poems evoke, Eminescu could have been Paciurea’s alter ego. I will come back to this aspect later. The initial plaster cast, measuring almost three metres, was destroyed by the artist, who was unhappy with the disinterest of the authorities. Fortunately, the National Museum of Art of Romania owns a patinated clay model and a few preparatory drawings that can give us an idea of this monumental project. Paciurea’s intentions evoke the sculptural conceptions of David d’Angers, for the colossal proportions given to the poet’s head, as well as for the importance given to the forehead and to the hair. The nude and tormented figures from the pedestal were judiciously compared by Romanian art historian Ioana Vlasiu to Rodin’s work , an influence that can be seen in many of his portraits, maternities or children’s heads.
The pre-war period is a rich one in his career: in 1912 Paciurea made ‘The Sleep of the Virgin’, considered to be one of Romania’s Neo-Byzantine masterpieces. He put it on display next to his ‘Sphinx’, the first appearance of a mythological figure in his work. After his ‘Beethoven’ (which some critics related to Bourdelles’s), exhibited in 1913, coincidence wants that both Paciurea and Brancusi present two statues entitled ‘The Prayer’ at the Artistic Youth. Paciurea’s taste for colossal heads materialises once again in the ‘God of War’, exhibited in 1915, one year before the entrance of Romania in the First World War, on the Allies’ side. This work obtained the Bronze medal in 1929 at the Universal Exhibition in Barcelona.
The end of the war marks the death of both Paciurea’s sister and of his fiancée, events that probably inspired the creation of a small sculpture, ‘The Supplicated’, 1919. Considered by the critics a ‘bizarre and interesting’ rough model, this sculpture makes the transition to the chimeras’ period, as we notice a new interest in fluid forms, which will lose their human anatomical similitude, like in these small nudes. During the last decade of his life, Paciurea would dedicate himself almost exclusively to his chimeras. Nevertheless, in 1920, he honoured the commission of the National Theatre director, Victor Eftimiu, which consisted in a series of Romanian and foreign portraits of playwrights.
The sculptor continued to exhibit in Bucharest, but the city council and the officials no longer commissioned any other work from him. In 1921 Paciurea exhibited for the first time his chimeras at the Romanian Art exhibition. Due to the generic name of these sculptures, most of them entitled ‘Chimera’, and to the fact that not all of them are dated, we don’t know precisely which sculptures were on display. In the following years, Paciurea exhibited his chimeras alongside other works: portraits, another monument project for Eminescu, a ‘Head of Satyr’ or ‘The God Pan’. Even if the chimeras weren’t approved by most of the artist’s contemporaries, Paciurea’s hybrids found admirers among a few poets and artists close to the sculptor. One of them, the poet Alexandru Obedenaru (1865-1945) was so influenced by Paciurea’s creatures that, in 1927, he published a long poem, ‘Chimeras’, most probably inspired by the sculptor’s work and enigmatic personality.