Kvadrat 500, 4th Floor – New wing of the building
The artist-illustrator complements the writer’s text and, at the same time, like a magician wielding a brush, opens a door to what is written and to the imagination of the readers.
One of those magicians was Lyuben Zidarov (1923–2023), who most recently ascended to his imaginary worlds, leaving behind a comprehensive gallery of images that make young and old alike smile and evoke warm memories of their favourite books.
In the museum, an illustration, ‘parted’ from the book’s inner body, takes on the life of an independent easel artwork in its bright primary colouring. The ten selected images based on famous works for children and adults reveal to the viewer only a small part of the oeuvre of Lyuben Zidarov, a man extremely dedicated to his work, with an in-depth attitude and love for what he had dedicated himself to. His curiosity for the surrounding reality, his tireless desire to work and his rich fantasy are imprinted on the illustrations, which are a natural visual continuation of the narrative in the books, revealing epochs, real and fantastic worlds, cities, places and personages. For almost every reprint of a given book, Lyuben Zidarov refined and further developed his drawings, making them a little different and more alive. Over the course of seven decades, the artist’s creative flair matured to achieve a unique and recognisable style.
Dr Tanya Staneva
Curator at the National Gallery