In the thematic collection “The Gold of Dobroudzha” are presented works of art created for a period covering more than a century, from the late 1890s up to the 1990s of the last century.
The landscape, the historic memory and lifestyle of the people of this region are underlying the thematic and rich in content aspect of the picturesque canvases.
The creators have discovered their sources of inspiration through their contacts with nature and the people here. The people of Dobroudzha with their traditions rich in mythology and folklore take up a particular place having a destiny of their own in the history of Bulgaria. This is a land, a place where the destinies of different ethnic groups and dramatic events have been interwoven in the new history of Bulgaria. They have found in art a peculiar national and patriotic coloring, being under the strong influence of the democratic traditions of the people from the region of Dobroudzha.
The topic “The Gold of Dobroudzha” includes a number of aspects, involving the ideological and notional interpretation, the subject-matter and thematic selection as well as the means of expression. The creators in their picturesque canvases, on the whole, throughout the period have shown a striving towards a deeper probing in the conception of the world, the character and the psychological image of the people and nature of the region of Dobroudzha. The romantic notions in the landscape genre have been closely connected with the appearance and the development of the “Native Art” trend since the 1920s. Then the subject-matter of art became the physical stability and the moral virtues of the ordinary laborers and it turned into a powerful incentive for the creation of an art bearing a bright national image. Yet in this period, in our landscape painting and figured-thematic composition the artists have tried to find the national specific character of painting in its folklore and romantic aspect. The issues connected with people’s lives and social problems came into being and evolved after the 1930s through the works of the artists of the New Artists’ Association .
Both trends started their development in the decades between the two World Wars and after the 1970s and 1980s their ideological aspects have shown a revival in the art of the contemporary Bulgarian landscape painting and composition.
In the 1950s this picturesque genre went through a number of serious trials but after the 1960s it got a new and dynamic development in the plastic and figurative language. Subject-matter from the Bulgarian history, the former village lifestyle, themes taken from the folklore, fairy tales and legends - Christian and local ones determine thematically the topics of the picturesque works. The quest for an inner meaning, the desire to probe deeply in the Bulgarian spirituality according to the geographic location and the historic past of separate ethnic components underlie the conception of this thematic circle of works - e.g. “Baker” by Ivan Markvitchka (the 1890s). The solutions of the contents can be traced out as basic trends:
- in a monumental heroic plan- the triptych “Bread” , 1987 by Svilen Blazhev, “Dance-Harvest”, by Lyubomir Samardzhiev;
- poetizing the past through retrospective contemplation -
“Ritual”, 1986 by Gredi Akka, “At the Fountain”, 1982 by Syuleyman Seferov, “Holiday”, 1987 by Mihail Kamberov,
“Midday Rest”, 1982 by Nikola Nikolov, “Harvesters”, 19th century by Gospodin Zhelyazkov, “Spring in the Fields”, 1977
by Hristo Vekov, “Threshing”, 1977 by Iliya Milkov;
- tender lyrical experience of the beauty of Bulgarian nature-
“Spring”, 1982 by Dobri Dobrev, “Maiden from Old Village”, 1982 Yordan Marinov; “Late Summer”, 1982 by Georgi Trifonov, “Golden Summer”,1982 by Nayden Petkov,“Harvest “ the 1980s by Olga Belopitova, and landscapes close to the naivety art - “Harvest” 77 by Rusi Nedelchev, “Gathering of Haystacks”, 1962 by Dariya Vasilyanska, “Sowing” 1963 by Violeta Maslarova;
- dramatic tension- “Dobroudzhan Soil ”, by Academician Svetlin Rusev, “Half-Expressed Thoughts” , 1982 by Teofan Sokerov“The Earth and the People”- I, II, 1982 by Petko Dochev, “ Spring Plowing”, 1977 by Sabi Georgiev;
- and discovering of the fateful and mystical meaning of different aspects of people’s life – “Past”, 1977 by Ivan Stoilov-Bunkera, “Golden Dobroudzha” and “Fertility” by Keazim Isinov,
“ Summer” and “ Sitting Down on the Ground”, 1982 by Dimitar Kazakov , “A Song”, 1981 by Todor Vakov, and in the only still life “Naturevive”, 1987 by Vladimir Stamenov.
We can make a conclusion as a whole that in the works of contemporary landscape painting of Bulgarian art, there is a general tendency in composition to be traced out involved with the theme “ The Gold of Dobroudzha” - the figured images in the space of painting existing in the mind in their connection between themselves and their surroundings , reflecting in this way different aspects of the boundless beauty of nature in its connection with man standing out – in his lifestyle, labor, holiday and spirituality.
In spite of the variety of painting styles and trends that different generations of creators follow in their art, the theme of fertility, beauty, the rich historic and cultural traditions of this region have acquired large dimensions in our contemporary visual art.
Exciting, beautiful and unforgettable will remain in the paintings the images of the rolling seas of the golden fields of wheat of Dobroudzha, the pyramids of golden grain for the bread, the images of the people with their golden tan, creating the golden gifts of earth with their labor, lighted up by the golden sun where beneath its rays the wealth of life is being born and multiplied.
Here is the poetic metaphor underlying the idea “The Gold of Dobroudzha” that has been thrilling the creators for more than a century.