NIKOLA MARINOV (1879 – 1948)
THE ATELIER OF THE FREE SPIRIT

30/10/2020 - 10/01/2021

Vernissage on Friday, 30 October, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., observing all anti-epidemic measures and with controlled access.

The exhibition presents the great Bulgarian painter Nikola Marinov (1879–1948) in his vocation as a favourite teacher of generations of Bulgarian artists. Between 1921 and 1941, some of the most significant names in Bulgarian art in the 20th century attended his painting atelier as students at the Academy of Arts. Among them were Lyubomir Dalchev, Kiril Petrov, Iliya Petrov, Iliya Beshkov, Zoya Paprikova, Veselin Staykov, Vaska Balareva, Georgi Gerasimov, Kiril Buyukliyski, Lyuben Gaydarov, and many others. The exposition includes 100 aquarelles and canvases by Nikola Marinov, and paintings by 36 of his pupils. A significant number of the exhibited works of the prominent Bulgarian watercolourist are on loan from the Art Gallery named after him in his hometown of Targovishte. Artworks from the collection of the Sofia City Art Gallery, the Art Gallery in Kyustendil and private collections are also included.

Twenty years after Nikola Marinov’s last jubilee exhibition at the National Art Gallery in 1999, the public can today recall the virtuosic watercolours of the unsurpassed master. But, this time, the emphasis is on the relationship between the Teacher and his disciples because, in the history of Bulgarian art, it is difficult to point to a similar example of the power of spiritual communion in a single atelier, which in itself had become a symbol of freedom of the creative spirit. Many of those fortunate to draw on his creative wisdom tell of the charisma, charm and outstanding qualities of the pedagogue Nikola Marinov. The words of Iliya Beshkov in 1947 concentrate the essence of their praises: ‘… It was as though under the branches of an oak tree that we, his pupils and children, grew up in pure obedience, in humble filial diligence, with deep faith in his creative power. We felt and realised that everything came to us from him, that everything in us—our exaltedness, our faith, our love for art—was his. So, when we were waiting in front of the tripods for the teacher Nikola Marinov, the father of the course came in. And when we lined up next to the father, the teacher in him towered with his astonishing stature…’

Aneliya Nikolaeva, exhibition curator