So taking a deep breath and blindfolded, I pin the tail on the gallery and choose a visit to the National Art Gallery for my first Sofia art experience ...
The National Art Gallery houses over 50,000 pieces of Bulgarian art and occupies most of the historic and very grand edifice of the former royal palace of Bulgaria. The national collection was established in 1934 and moved to the palace in 1946, after the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a Communist government in Bulgaria.
The original idea for a national gallery had been planned for many years and between 1934 and 1941, Bulgaria's first female architect Victoria Angelova's design was built to house both a renaissance and contemporary art collection. The building was finished and opened in 1942, but was completely lost in a WW2 1944 bombing – then after the war and the abolition of the monarchy the royal palace was chosen to house the collection. Fortunately, all of the paintings the original building had housed were preserved, and together with the royal art collection already exhibited in the palace formed the stock of the National Art Gallery.
The Palace was constructed in two stages, the first lasting between 1880 and 1882 during the rule of Knyaz Alexander Battenberg, when Austro-Hungarian architects worked on the building. The second stage, during Knyaz (later Tsar) Ferdinand’s rule saw the completion of the palace as it now stands.
... and who can resist a "mirrored-selfie" on the grand staircase
framed between the flags of the EU and Bulgaria ... !!!
This interesting exhibition is dedicated to the genre of the Interior and includes works from the National Gallery’s collection of several generations of some of the most prominent names in modern and contemporary Bulgarian painting. The exhibition is divided into several thematic sections: the interior of the atelier, still life in interior, the human figure, and the portrait in the interior. The lighting in the gallery was not the best for photography – some of the photographs are very grainy – but never-the-less here are a few of my “favourites” from the exhibition …
Dream - Yaver Sultanov - 2002
Absheron - Yaver Sultanov - 2001
Self-Portrait - Nadir Zeynalov - 1999
Interior - Sirak Skitnik - 1910
Studio - Georgi Bozhilov-Slona - 1970
Studio - Dimitar Vitkov - 1985
The Muse - Georgi Bozhilov-Slona - 1988
Instead of Self-Potrait - Lilyana Borisova - 1981
Composition - Nikolay Yanakiev - 1982
Studio - Shavdar Valov - 1991
... the grand ball room -
now used for recitals and state receptions ...
Interior - Dolores Dilova - 1987
Interior with a Bicycle - Teofan Sokerov - 1976
Interior - Marko Monev - 1980
Attic - Iva Vladimirova - 1985
Interior - Vasilka Moneva - 1975
Interior - Petar Marinov - 1980
Interior - Vera Nedkova - 1945
Interior - Yanko Anastasov - 1932
Composition - Nenko Balkanski - 1947
Guest - Vihroni Popnedelev - 1983
Game of Dominoes - Andrei Daniel - 1976
Self-Portrait - Stefan Yanev - 1978
Portrait of a Woman - Georgi Pavlov - 1930
Interior - Kalina Taseva - 1987
At the Window - Ekaterina Savova-Nenova - 1978
Mirror - Nikolay Kuchkov - 1979
Sketch 1 - Ekaterina Savova-Nenova - 1975
... an interesting exhibition me thinks ...