An impressive and moving exhibition of numerous works by prominent Bulgarian artist Ivan Milev, who was just 30 when he died in 1927, is on at the Sofia City Art Gallery until August 6 2017.
Entitled Directions, the exhibition illustrates – or at least outlines – the scope of the work of an artist whose place as the founder of the Bulgarian Secession and a representative of Bulgarian modernism, combining symbolism, Art Nouveau and expressionism, earned him depiction on the five leva note.
On display are works that trace the connection with the national or fairy-tale element in his art, with the themes of religion, mysticism, fatalism, with the Native art movement and Secession, with the decorative style and the short-lived Bulgarian modernism.
The exhibition includes several works that are part of private collections. Visitors to Sofia City Art Gallery can discover the artist’s creative work, including a number of paintings that are not well-known or have not been displayed for decades.
The exhibition comprises works from Kazanlak Art Gallery, National Gallery – Sofia, National Academy of Arts, Sofia City Art Gallery, National Museum of Literature, Art Gallery “Dimiter Dobrovich” – Sliven, Stara Zagora Art Gallery, Art Gallery “Kiril Petrov” – Montana, Art Gallery “Hristo Tsokev” – Gabrovo, Rousse Art Gallery and a number from private collections.
Regarded as one of the great masters of distemper and watercolour painting in Bulgarian art, Milev often created socially loaded works. His characteristic decorative style was much influenced by the European Secession, but it was also related to Bulgarian folk art and icon painting.
Milev is portrayed on the obverse of the current Bulgarian five leva banknote issued in 1999, with some of his works depicted on the reverse side.