Andrei Gabriel Pleşu (born August 23, 1948) is a Romanian philosopher, essayist, journalist, literary and art critic. He has been intermittently involved in politics assuming the roles of Minister of Culture (1989-91), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997-99) and presidential counsellor for external affairs (2004-05).
Born in Bucharest, the son of Radu Pleşu, a surgeon and Zoe Pleşu (born Rădulescu), he spent much of his early youth in the country side. He started school in Sinaia, but attended the village school in Pârscov, in the Nehoi valley from 1955 to 1957, and often returned to the mountains during school holidays. Plesu attended the Spiru Haret National College in Bucharest majoring in humanities, where he graduated at the top of his class.
Pleşu studied art history at the University of Bucharest and graduated with his bachelor's in 1971. That year, he accepted a post as a researcher at the Institute of Art History of the Romanian Academy. In 1972 he married Catrinel Maria Petrulian. For 1975–1977 he received the first of his Alexander von Humboldt Foundation graduate scholarships to study in Bonn and Heidelberg. From 1978 through 1982, along with Gabriel Liiceanu, he attended Constantin Noica's informal and semi-clandestine lectures in Păltiniş. In 1980 he became a faculty lecturer in the Art department at the University of Bucharest. However in 1982 he was barred from further university teaching for "political reasons", and took a job as a consultant for the Artists Union. He received his second Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for 1983–1984, and upon his return again worked at the Institute of Art History.
In April 1989, Pleşu lost his job at the Institute of Art History due to his open support of Mircea Dinescu, objected to by the communist regime. This resulted in his exile to Tescani, a village in Bereşti-Tazlău commune, Bacău County, and he was forbidden from publishing. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989 he was one of the founders of the "New Europe College" an institute of advanced studies, and of the cultural magazine Dilema (now Dilema Veche). He worked as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest and is now a professor at the University of Bucharest, where he teaches history of arts and philosophy of religion. He continues to be successful as a writer, and his books have all been well received by critics and readers.
He also became involved in politics, serving as Romania's Minister of Culture from 1990 to 1991, and Foreign Minister from 1997 to 1999. Between 2000 and 2004, Pleşu was a member of the National College for the Study of the Securitate Archives; he resigned the latter office in protest against political pressures on the committee. After the 2004 elections brought Traian Băsescu to the office of President of Romania, he became presidential counsellor for external affairs, a position he held until June 2005, when he resigned invoking health issues.
Two volumes were published in 2009, honoring Pleşu, both edited by Mihail Neamtu and Bogdan Tataru-Cazaban. The first was O Filozofie a Intervalului: In Honorem Andrei Pleşu (A Philosophical Interval: In Honor of Andrei Plesu) entirely in Romanian, and the second was an international Festschrift in honor of Plesu's sixtieth birthday, with essays exploring the themes of his life in current context.
Pleşu's early works revolved around art history and theory, but, in time, his essays, published in cultural magazines and elsewhere, became oriented towards cultural anthropology and philosophy. His exuberant writing style gained him recognition as one of the leading Romanian essayists of his age.