Sofia is not only the administrative capital of Bulgaria, but also the cultural one, with a solid reputation for the performing arts, as well as renowned theater and ballet performances. The fine arts scene is simply waiting to be discovered in the Bulgarian capital, with many galleries located near the city center. Here are ten of the best contemporary art galleries in Sofia.
Modern Art Gallery Sofia
Bulgaria’s first private western art gallery opened in 2009, and hasn’t looked back since. With an outstanding collection of works from Bulgarian authors, to samples of works from Picasso, Warhol or Matisse, this gallery is a chance for passers-by to see some of modern art’s more famous productions. In addition to the permanent collection, Modern Art Gallery Sofia has also organized exhibitions of the works of Dali, Damien Hirst and Hunt Slonem. Competitions and workshops for both adults and children are also on offer.
Art Gallery Natalie
Situated in close proximity to the Houses of Parliament, Alexander Nevski Cathedral and the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, Art Gallery Natalie is easy to find. An active gallery, Natalie hosts the work of hundreds of Bulgarian painters and sculptors. This welcoming gallery is very active in the local community, hosting charity events and workshops for children, as well as taking exhibitions abroad across.
Rubber Gallery specializes in photographic images and has paved the way for this style of art to develop in Sofia. The first dedicated seller of photography in the city, this gallery showcases the work of several different artists and includes different styles, genres, trends and techniques. A must for photo lovers!
Rubber Gallery, 13 Ulitsa Gerlovo, Sofia, Bulgaria, +359 88 905 0675
Absinthe Aquarelle Gallery
Absinthe is the gallery to visit for watercolor lovers, and for those seeking a warm, relaxed environment completed by a glass of wine – the gallery also operates a small wine shop. It is the leading gallery for watercolors in Sofia and has numerous beautiful works of art available for viewing. The gallery has been open since 2012, a relative newcomer to the scene, but has already hosted several exhibitions. Absinthe also offers lessons in watercolor painting and organizes wine tasting sessions.
Absinthe Aquarelle Gallery, 37 Tsar Samuil Street, Sofia, Bulgaria, +359 898 669 120
Art Gallery Paris
Established in 2003 by Boris and Nadia Pavlov, Art Gallery Paris hosts a collection of works that embody the talents of young authors within Sofia’s arts scene. The gallery captures the fields of ‘magic realism, hyper-realism, naive and expressive art’ and features the work of Roshpak, Nora and many more Bulgarian artists. The tiny venue is crammed full of paintings, which is a good indicator of the owners’ energy and enthusiasm.
Terra Art Gallery
Terra Art Gallery showcases the work of Krasimir Bekyarov. This modern, Bulgarian author creates artistic works out of ceramics, plastics, pottery and paint, with a preference for the abstract. Beautifully crafted, his designs appear to be somewhat influenced by aboriginal and tribal designs. As Bekyarov attests, the gallery represents a search for new forms in the field of contemporary art and ceramics.
Located next to the Kempinski Hotel, Bosilkova (formerly Art Gallery Pagane) opened in 2005, and hosts regular contemporary art exhibitions containing paintings, ceramics and sculptures. Attracting young and unknown artists, Bosilkova also showcases the work of more established Bulgarian artists. This is a great place to visit if you wish to see work from up-and-coming artists and fledgling authors new to the Sofian arts scene.
Bosilkova, 2 Krichim St, Floor 2, Lozenetz, Sofia, Bulgaria, +359 876 665 364
Featuring a diverse collection of traditional and modern Bulgarian art pieces, Degas is an artistically cosmopolitan option for those seeking to appreciate samples of Bulgarian art from throughout the ages. Founded by Donka Staykova in 2007, the gallery is situated in the old art area of Sofia. The original intention of the gallery was for use as a forum for uniting the creative energies of artists from across all of Bulgaria in one small, central place. The gallery hosts both individual and collective exhibitions with a view to promoting the historical fine arts of Bulgaria.
This delightful art-house is home to numerous dolls, hand crafted by local adults and children in a diverse range of styles and sizes. Many of the dolls exhibit costumes reminiscent of characters prominent in Bulgarian folklore, and are styled in the manner of national dress, with historical connections that reveal this craft is much more than just child’s play. The house also hosts several different competitions for various categories of dolls, and some are available for purchase.
Art-house ‘Dolls’, 34 Tsar Samuil Street, Sofia, Bulgaria, +359 888 860 934
This modern art gallery contains lots of eye-catching pieces from a variety of contemporary Bulgarian artists. The diverse collection offers a beautiful insight into the minds of Bulgaria’s vibrant creatives – both young and old. Maestro presents solo and group exhibitions of paintings, iconography, graphics, and sculptures. The gallery prides itself on presenting a high standard of Bulgarian art, while promoting a culture of art appreciation. You may even find something special to take back home with you.
By James Norman