Klimbo melody from the childhood

For many of us born from 1960 to the end of the last century in Bulgaria and grew up here, Kliment Denchev – Klimbo (1939-2009) is the tale that was opening the door to our childish dreams almost every night at ten to eight.

Looking at the long list of movies and theatre performances with his participation in Wikipedia, I remember some of the movies he was playing in. I remember more clearly his warm voice and his always smiling bearded face, than the particular character he played in the movie.

It’s the magic of growing up.

The magical mercy to forget all the superfluous things and to leave only the good ones. The smile. The eyes. The voice.

And those simple and childishly naive paintings, which he was drawing night by night on window glass in the children’s evening show “Good Night, kids”.

Good night, little and not so little kids. Do you remember Klimbo?

Georgi Baev and the Sea

Georgi Baev (1924-2007) is among my favourite Bulgarian painters.

He is born in the seaside town of Bourgas, grew up there and spent his lifetime painting the Sea. I love the sea and I’m interested specifically in the painters who love the sea. Although Bulgaria is a sea country, there are not so much marine painters here.

In his works loneliness and masculine strength could be felt.

The colours are saturated and even their nuances are strong. The Sea is calm, without excitement and with no waves, and is somehow unnecessary quiet. The boats are off the water. The sailors are gone. The houses stay lonely as abandoned, without people around them. Lacking movement, lacking perspective.

There’s quiet sadness in his works.

Why was he so sad and lonely? Who was so much irritated with his quiet pictures? Why was his atelier lit in 1983 with so many paintings burned?

Unanswered questions.

Suzanne Valadon – the model that became a famous painter

Life can bring wonderful surprises even to people who think they know the history of art well. One such beautiful surprise to me is the French artist Suzanne Valadon (1865–1938).

She had a long and not very easy life, according to our today ideas of happiness. Born into a poor family, she moved to Paris very young to seek work. She has been doing very well as a circus acrobat until a severe trauma because of which she had to leave the circus for ever.

And since Suzanne was beautiful, her natural development in Paris was to become a model.

There had been hundreds of girls posing as models in Paris. Hundreds of them are for us simply unknown models drawn on the paintings of famous artists.

Exactly in such situations, the Fortune gives a chance to strong people to show what they can do.

Very few of the model girls have had the chance to be painted by and become a muse for all Renoir, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Modigliani. The four left us magnificent portraits of Suzanne and painted her in various poses, out and in atelier.

Unlike many other model girls, Suzanne became a famous painter herself learning while posing, watching at the hands of the painter.

She painted hundreds of landscapes, flowers, still life and portraits that can be compared to the best works of post-impressionists, her teachers. Suzanne is the first woman painter admitted to the National Society of Fine Arts in France.

I especially like her paintings in which she paints women. Suzanne paints woman’s face, hands and body in natural poses, with no ideal forms, with no embellishment. But not only that – the woman in her works is not just a beautiful object, painted to express the author’s emotions or ideas. The woman takes a central place in the Suzanne’s works –  paints, reads, thinks, plays music. She is an artist herself with position in life.

I like the women confidence and serenity in the Suzanne’s paintings.

You can take a look at Suzanne Valadon’s works in Wikiart.

Suli Seferov – the beautiful and sad Balkan story

For an artist, born and raised in Bulgaria, the heart of the Balkans, it is probably logical to paint fairy tales. We that belong to the 1940s and 1960s generations here grew up with the magic tales of our grandparents, mixed on this territory as bread.

Maybe that’s why so much and for so long I like Suli Seferov (born 1943) and his wonderful paintings. Each of his works brings me back in the years and slows my breath.

Soft and pastel colours. Mysterious and subtle shapes.

The animals from our legends and the animals from the old Bulgarian daily life in one. Flying white horses, donkeys, cocks singing, owls, magpies, white doves…

The flowers and the fruits of our lovely Balkan nature, so beautiful, so precious. The grapes, the rosehips, the sunflowers, the olives, the apple (of sin?)…

The kids – the beautiful fruits of our Love…

I myself have grown up with these tales. I remember how my rounded and slightly limping grandmother was telling me and my cousins such endless stories until we all felt asleep. She was speaking so sweet and charming that I remembered every word of her.

Will we succeed in bringing our fairy heritage to the future?

You could have a look at the works of Suli Seferov at his web site.

Tsanko Lavrenov and the roots of the modern Bulgarian culture

We Bulgarians are very proud of the cultural achievements of our ancient nation. Icons, old urban architecture, murals, woodcarving are among the most famous of Bulgaria’s fine art achievements abroad.

The truth is, however, that very few Bulgarian artists became known abroad if they have not been connected to the former official art management system or had refused to make some kind of cultural propaganda with their art. 

Rarely their works were shown at exhibitions abroad. In many cases they did not participated in exhibitions in the country.

In the collections of very few world famous museums and galleries there are paintings of Bulgarian artists from the second half of 20th century.

Exceptions are those that have emigrated in their youth and have long lived abroad.

Tsanko Lavrenov  (1896-1978) is a name in the fine arts that every nation can be proud of.

Although he is a loved and popular artist in Bulgaria, I think we owe him a lot. He belongs to that group of artists who have enriched our fine art and have transferred it from the usual Orthodox and Balkan-centred spirituality to spirituality and culture with a European dimension.

Tsanko Lavrenov has been inspired all his life by the old Bulgarian monasteries, by the beautiful houses and the steep rocky shortcuts of his native Plovdiv.

I especially like this picture of Tsanko Lavrenov called “Little Night Music”, obviously inspired by the great composer. In the courtyard of a house belonging to a famous wealthy family, in the heart of the old Plovdiv, an orchestra plays Mozart in the moonlight. It is 1967 year.

What is more eloquent than this message?

Have a look at the magnificent works of Tsanko Lavrenov at the web page of the Plovdiv City Art Gallery.

The Persian girl of Martiros Sarian

Martiros Sarian (18801972) is an Armenian artist who I found for myself recently thanks to Wikipedia.

This artist of the East, known primarily in his native Armenia and in Russia, is undoubtedly a great name in the world fine arts of the 20th century.

His paintings grabbed my eyes straight away. Clear and warm colours. Confident and somewhat challenging forms. Eastern mystique and simplicity at the same time. Horizon and internal focus. A triumph of the light. 

Martiros Sarian has travelled much as most of the great artists since before the First World War. His works are an incredible art snapshot of the East at that time – colourful, delicate, humane.

It was a great pleasure finding this artist. In every picture of him I found something very, very mine. It’s like a fairy meeting with the childhood.

Look at this beautiful Persian girl.

Doesn’t she remind you of an Egyptian princess? Is she shy or challenging? Is she sad, or is she going to look at you every moment and give you a smile? Would she be prettier if we could see her neck and hair?

Questions without answers.

A wonderful time before the terrible wars of the 20th century, when a man could travel anywhere without fear and paint freely without worry.

Beautiful signs of the mankind’s culture.

Paul Cézanne – the painter of Aix-en-Provence

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) is among the most famous and loved French post impressionists. However, as an artist from this school, he has always been a little bit aside from the publicity and noise, with which all their activities had been accompanied.

Born in Aix-en-Provence, he, throughout all his life, preferred to work in his hometown and not to stay for long in Paris or outside France.

Cézanne physically suffered during his stays in the capital, worked mostly in his atelier there and could not be often met at gatherings and public places. Once during one of the few vacations he have had – in Switzerland, with his family, he did not stand for until the end of the planned stay and returned alone and in advance to France. An interesting escape from a vacation. It was very hard for him to stay focused and paint when not at home.

Cézanne has left us unforgettable landscapes from his native Aix-en-Provence.

The houses aslept in an afternoon dream. The trees slanted by the sea-side wind. The hills of Sainte-Victoire mountain. The valley, sunk in spring greenery or laying quiet under the rays of the hot summer sun.

I’ve dreamt of seeing this valley and this mountain since my childhood.

You may take a look at some of his works at Wikipedia.

Gabrielle Münter – my lovely artist in the Blue Rider group

She’s an artist I didn’t know anything about until a few months ago. The partner in life of Vassily Kandinsky in the period when he lived and worked in Germany and part of the Blue Rider art group.

Gabrielle Münter (1877-1962) has lived for most of his life in Bavaria, in a small house with a lovely flower garden. After the breakup with Kandinsky, she has experienced a great personal crisis and for some time she has not worked at all. She has sent him some of his works, painted while they had been together. The rest she kept in her Bavarian house by hiding them during the Nazi times, when the German expressionists have been confined and unloved.

I like her courage to be herself at a time when the artists were forced to comply with the political constraints imposed on them. I like her character to be herself in this still predominantly male world of fine arts.

I adore her Bavarian landscapes, like pieces of a fairy-tale world, pure and childishly naive.

I like a lot of her paintings. Look at this one – it’s called the Breakfast of the birds. A woman sits face-to-window and is having a breakfast, watching the breakfast of the birds outside. The snow has gently embraced the tree. She’s calm and thoughtful. The birds are beautiful, but it seems to be cold outside. She herself looks like a frozen bird in the winter. Sometimes life is sad.

You can see some of her works at Wikiart.


The harmony of colour and shape in the works of Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is one of my favourite artists. Without knowing well his work as a sculptor, I have always admired his paintings, stained glass works and his late works of cut colour paper.

Matisse is one of the flag artists of 20th century, who created completely new and modern vision of fine art.

Along with Picasso, Matisse created and developed to perfection the artistic styles Fauvism and Cubism, leaving his own individual approach and an incredible flair for shape and colour.

The softness of his character and attitude to life reflect in each of his works.

In his paintings from the Oriental fauvist period coexist in perfect harmony vivid colours, combined with smooth and soft shapes of bodies and objects. The role of the classical geometric perspective is replaced by the depth of colour and softness of the shape. Matisse works from this period immerse us in a dreamy and relaxing atmosphere. It’s hard to take our eyes off the paintings. We remain relaxed and keep dreaming even after we stop looking at them.

With the age, Matisse began working in the Cubism style, but also here distinctive feature of his works is the exclusive synergy of shape and colour. Gradually his works got cleared of details in the form, and the colours became saturated and deep. The unique thing about Matisse is that pure shapes and clear colours does not create any tension in the perception of the art.

Harmony, softness and wisdom. This is for me, Henri Matisse.

You can take a look at Blue Window and many other Matisse works in the collection of MoMA museum.

Vladimir Dimitrov (the Master) – Bulgarian art genius

My first art essay is about one of my favorite Bulgarian artists, whom I adore and who I learn from every day. This is Vladimir Dimitrov (1872-1960) called the Master. I think he is the Bulgarian genius in fine arts.

The Genius works impress everyone. From the average spectator to the most demanding critic. The Genius is an undisputed authority. This is the main criteria for admitting an artist to be a genius.

Vladimir Dimitrov (the Master) is recognised by all, and not only in Bulgaria. During his lifetime, he became the most popular Bulgarian artist abroad.

The Genius creates works of different styles or leaves works in different fields of art.

Vladimir Dimitrov (the Master) left unforgettable watercolors, ink sketches, drawings and oil paintings. He has a unique style in painting, which in different periods can be attributed to different artistic styles – post-impressionism, expressionism, fauvism. From every style he takes the best, giving to it a unique dimension and spirit.

The Genius mixes the local and the global, the instant and the eternal.

The works of Vladimir Dimitrov (the Master) bring the colors and the spirit of the Balkans, but each one is understandable to every person in the world. They are so understandable and close to the people’s hearts and minds, because in them the instant merges with the eternal. War is hateful and unnecessary evil. The women eyes are a source of purity and kindness. In children is the hope of the world. Labor is the salvation of mankind. Nature is the mother of all of us.

The Genius is different. No one can confuse the Genius with some other artist.

The works of Vladimir Dimitrov (the Master) can not be confused with works of another artist. In any gallery or private collection to find his paintings, they can be recognized immediately. It’s like with Van Gogh works. As with Picasso. As with Henri Mathisse. Everybody can recognize the painter.

If you want to see some of the works of Vladimir Dimitrov (the Master), you can visit the Art Gallery with his name in his hometown of Kyustendil or the National Art Gallery in Sofia. His works are also part of the collections of some other city galleries in Bulgaria.