Bulgarian art has been flourishing the last two centuries, starting with church frescoes and murals in the homes of the wealthy, followed by the world art trends with a local flair added to them, in which artists are looking for their place on the international art scene. If you are an art aficionado, here is a list of some of the best museums and galleries for both classical and contemporary artists.
The National Art Gallery is where you can see works by some of the greatest Bulgarian painters and sculptors and exhibitions of international artists. Its collection was founded back in 1892 and today holds more than 30,000 works of art. The gallery is housed in the ex-palace (Bulgaria had a tsar until 1945, and this was his residence).
Kvadrat 500 is a branch of the National Art Gallery open since 2015 that presents works of art from their collections. In 28 halls on four floors, you can see works of art from local and international artists, including Asian, African, and American. A different topic is represented every month with a spotlight on local and world-renowned artists.
Vladimir Dimitrov – the Master Gallery, Kyustendil
Vladimir Dimitrov – the Master is known for his paintings representing the rural life of Bulgaria at the beginning of the 20th century. His style is so distinctive that after seeing a few of his works, you will be able to recognize it. Although he gained popularity and lived in Sofia for some time, the Master always loved his home region of Kyustendil and spent many years in the villages there. A spacious galleryin the town of Kyustendil is entirely dedicated to his life and work.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev is another prominent Bulgarian artist who has created a whole fairy-tale world in his paintings. He depicted the everyday life of Bulgarians in bright colors and contrasting emotions. The best place to get to know him better is the house museum dedicated to his life in Plovdiv’s Old Town.
Art Gallery Philippopolis is a private art center emphasizing Bulgarian art from both the Communist era and recent years. It comprises a gallery, a museum, a hotel, and a restaurant in the otherworldly atmosphere of the Old Town of Plovdiv. Collectors will find a treasure trove of painting of Bulgarian artists, a true history book of the local art.
Some Bulgarian regions have their own distinctive ornamental styles that have acquired almost legendary status, and Troyan is probably the best example. If you want to delve in the subtleties of the Bulgarian art and the influence that folklore had on it, roam around the galleries of Troyan. A perfect starting point is the Seryakova Kashta Gallery where every month a different contemporary Bulgarian or foreign artist is exhibited. The gallery is a cultural hub where concerts and poetry readings also take place.
Seryakova Kashta Gallery in Troyan | Courtesy of Seryakova Kashta
The Museum House of Humor and Satire, Gabrovo
This museum is dedicated to humor ,and to the humor of the people of the town of Gabrovo in particular, known all over Bulgaria for their extra frugality bordering on stinginess. The Humor House, however, has a rich collection of humoristic works of art from all over the world exploring what is funny in different places on our planet.