Assen Peikov (1908 – 1973)
Head of Giorgio de Chirico, 1946

bronze, 33/20 /29 cm
Hall 16

Assen Peikov’popularity has extended beyond Bulgaria and Italy, and has reached European recognition. To the successful career of a widely distinguished master of sculptural portrait he further developed remarkable achievements in monumental and decorative plastic art. His name is most often associated with the impressive 9-meter tall figure of Leonardo da Vinci erected in 1960 at the Fuimicino Airport in Rome.

Assen Peikov was born in Sofia on 28 June 1908. Since 1932 till 1937 he was a student at the State Art Academy in Prof. Andrei Nikolov’s class of sculpture, which he graduated with Golden medal.

In 1938 the young artist arrived in Rome. His studio soon became a center of attraction to the representatives of cultural and artistic cream of the crop: Giorgio De Chirico, Alberto Savinio, Bruno Barilli, Renato Guttuso, Pericle Fazzini. The Bulgarian was a skillful master of sculptural portraits with great insight and psychological depth.

In 1940s he made portraits to eminent persons among which was Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978), a pre-Surrealist Greek-Italian painter, who founded the Methaphysical school in 20th century art. In his late artistic works De Chirico returned to the principles of classical painting. In this style he painted the dual portrait of Assen Peikov and his son Rodolfo.
In Italy the Bulgarian became part of the 20th century upheaval of modern art, but he was dedicated to the principles of figurative art and the images he created resembled classical Roman portraits in both construction and expressivity.

Master of drawings, Peikov demonstrated his talent and professional abilities in a curious self-portrait study, he named with a sense of humor “Assen Peikov- the Futurist”.
In 1950s and in 1960s he became one of the most desired and appreciated portrait sculptors in Italy. His models were actresses like Sofia Loren and Ava Gardner, and famous figures in culture and science as well, like the great Italian film director Federico Fellini and the man who discovered penicillin Alexander Fleming. In 1956 Assen Peikov was the first sculptor given the opportunity to portray Pope Pius XII and by the end of his life he was working on the statue of President Kennedy.

The artist lived among friends and adherents. He worked with great success for more than thirty years in Italy. He found many occasions to continue to maintain his relationship with Bulgaria. Few know that after the end of World War II he gave Bulgarian Prime Minister Georgi Dimitrov a chess set in which each piece was a different, original figure.
Assen Peikov died on 25 September 1973. A square in Rome and a street in Sofia bear his name.

Slava Ivanova