The exhibition at Kvadrat 500 presents the impressive, dramatic and enigmatic image of the classic of Bulgarian art, Vladimir Dimitrov – The Master (1882–1960) in a series of self-portraits, paintings, graphic and sculptural portraits by his contemporaries, including Vasil Stoilov, Stoyan Venev, Boris Georgiev, Ivan Mrkvička, Asen Vasiliev, Boris Kolev, Andrey Nikolov, and Ivan Lazarov; and documentary photographs and film footage, some being shown to the public for the first time. Gathered together, The Master’s self-portraits stand as a psychogram of this cloaked and anguished soul. In Vasil Stoilov’s words, they ‘mark the steps he ascended and from which he tumbled down many times’.
The exhibition in the Palace sets The Master’s oeuvre in the context of the artists and ideas of the informal Native Art movement of the 1920s and 1930s, which, according to Kiril Krastev, ‘with its metaphorical poetics and decorative aesthetics stands out as one of the most indigenous, original, interesting and attractive periods and phases in our figurative art’. Through parallels, comparisons, emphasis on common ideas and strong individualities, The Master’s paintings find their place among the works of artists such as Ivan Milev, Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Tsanko Lavrenov, Vasil Zahariev, Ivan Penkov, Vasil Stoilov, and Ivan Lazarov, facilitating the emergence of one of the most powerful movements in Bulgarian culture of the first half of the 20th century, with the oeuvre and personality of Vladimir Dimitrov – The Master at its core.
The curator of the exhibitions is Ivo Milev, with Dr Tanya Staneva as assistant curator, and with the cooperation of the Conservation and Restoration Laboratory and the technical team of the National Gallery.
The exhibitions were made possible with the targeted financial support of the Ministry of Culture.
Partners of the National Gallery include more than 25 museums, galleries, cultural institutions, and private collections throughout Bulgaria:
Vladimir Dimitrov – The Master Art Gallery, Kyustendil
Sofia City Art Gallery
Georges Papazoff Art Gallery, Yambol
Kazanlak Art Gallery
Stara Zagora Art Gallery
Silistra Art Gallery
Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven
Iliya Beshkov Art Gallery, Pleven
Boris Denev Art Gallery, Veliko Tarnovo
House of Humour and Satire Museum, Gabrovo
Boris Georgiev Art Gallery, Varna
Museum Collection of the National Academy of Arts
UniArt Gallery, New Bulgarian University
National History Museum
National Ethnographic Museum
National Archaeological Museum
Bulgarian National Television
Bulgarian National Film Archives
New Bulgarian University Archives
Central State Archives, Sofia
State Archives Agency, Kyustendil