But the chimeras are not exclusively associated to the poet’s monument. Paciurea had imagined some independent chimeras monument projects, and some of them were listed as ‘Project for a Monument with Chimeras’ or ‘Two Sketches for a Chimera’. We can also notice that this theme was rather flexible in the sculptor’s mind and we can find it on projects for a tray or for a symphonic poem poster, like ‘Aleodor’, commissioned by a friend of the artist, the composer Victor L. Gheorghiu (1888-1951).
Far from conveying a precise meaning, surpassing all the boundaries of all mythologies, Paciurea’s chimeras invite multiple interpretations. This ambiguity of their signification can be perceived both in his drawings and in his sculptures. Nevertheless, the study of Paciurea’s graphic work allows us to identify new reflexion fields. Except for the project for Eminescu’s monument, the association of the chimeras to the Poet, or, more widely, to the Artist, is only to be found in the drawings. Symbol of Thought, of Inspiration, incarnation of the Ideal or of the creator’s torments, the chimera is a sort of silent guardian or a bizarre muse accompanying the Poet. A small composition from the Prints and Drawings Department of the National Museum of Art of Romania is listed under the title ‘Study for Composition – Orpheus’. This identification is pertinent, as the main figure holds a lyre in his left hand. Mainly known as a self-identification figure for the misunderstood artist, the myth, but especially the tragic end of Orpheus correspond to the image that Paciurea had of the artist’s destiny.
The chimera can be associated to Thought and to Creation, a supposition that Ioana Vlasiu has already underlined in one of her articles. Indeed, three of Paciurea’s drawings represent an athletic man on whose head rises a small chimera, like an emanation or an extension of his body. Two other drawings represent a man fighting against chimeras, surrounding his head. The theme of fight is much more explicit in a sketch where three chimeras burst out from a headless man’s body, while another one is coiling around his leg, like the Laocoon’s snakes. Here we can notice that chimeras can be a possible mode of metamorphosis.
Not having at our disposal a reliable chronology, we prefer to list them around general attributes and frequent themes, like Death, Woman or the Elements. One of Paciurea’s first sculpted chimeras is dated 1919. Its actual title, ‘Chimera’, may have been added later and we don’t know if this bronze was exhibited during Paciurea’s lifetime. This figure recalls first of all the traditional representation of a siren or that of a Romanian mythological creature, called ‘striga’, an evil spirit issued from the metamorphosis of a dead or living human being. Paciurea’s bronze represents an airy feminine demon with a human head, perched on a rocky base to which it is firmly attached by strong claws. The modelling of the body is very similar to that of the base. Except for the claws, the only parts of the body distinct enough are the breast and her bald head, whose features are barely sketched. A soundless howl seems to burst out of her mouth. But the strangest thing in this figure is the contrast between the immobility of the body, including the massive trunk, and this extension formed by the head and by the weird protuberances surrounding it.