what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

wine and sculpture

 Thanks to CasaVino, an eminently quaffable new red wine variety for these cold days – from a village in the Melnik area near the border with Greece. It’s Kapatovo with a blend of four grapes, three of which I had never heard of - Marselan, Petit Verdot, Primitovo and Syrah. The first two are apparently late-flowering varieties from France and only Syrah is well-known. The result is superb - well warranting the four stars which it gets from my little Bulgarian wine bible and certainly worth the 18 euros price-tag (for 5 litres!!).
The Melnik/Sandanski area is renowned for its robust and tasty Mavrud wines to which I have become very attached this winter – breaking out of the exclusive attachment I was beginning to form to the Bulgarian whites – particularly the St Ilyia from the Sliven area.
The Mavruds (including some whites) are also found in the central plains.

My favourite little second-hand bookshop in the courtyard of Vassil Levsky at the University corner also came up a couple of nice old books – one published in 1960 on the sculptor Marko Markov (many of whose works were to be seen in the Ilyia Beshkov Gallery at Pleven) and the other one a 1974 collections of small (mainly black and white) prints of artists from the first 6 decades of the 20th century.

Unfortunately I don't know which sculptures are whose!! Are they all Markov's?? Or are some Spasskov's? The bearded guy is certainly Patriarch Eftim!

My interest in such sculptures increases in leaps and bounds. I don't, at the moment, have many such artefacts - but could be persuaded to collect more of these......


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stoian Venev

Various reasons for the 3 week silence – the numbing cold of the last few weeks; waiting for the results of various tests relating to my prostate; and sheer disgust with how the power-elites have been betraying the hopes of decent people.
The Mouse that roared is a good post on the Cyprus crisis.
Now the possibility has been raised of removing the 100k guarantee which was previously in place for our bank savings. All I can do is collect the ammunition to use on the bankers!

It's apt that I came across a small 1950s book on Stoian Venev (1904-1989) whose sepia sketches are so evocative  

Venev grew up in Kuystendil - half-way between Sofia and the Macedonian border - and was clearly influenced by Vladimir Dmitrova (Maistora) whom he knew well

He is one of a long line of first-class Bulgarian graphic artists (Bozhinov; Dobrinov; Beshkov, Behar;Angeloushev - let alone the war sketches of so many others such as Shturkelov) but his work shows a particular sympathy for the struggles of peasants.  












And I particularly liked the study of the long-suffering wife in this sketch!













Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pleven Gallery at last


On Thursday, I eventually made it to the Ilyia Beshkov Gallery in Pleven. The  gallery was easily found – in an imposing building and quiet imposing area. It was midday when I got there – I was the only visitor and it was quite freezing! So cold that the 3 curators shut themselves in the small room and left me to my own devices for almost an hour – with the lighting on and my able to photograph to my heart’s content. About 50 of Beshkov’s large sketches; half a dozen large sculptures some of which were Angel Spassov but most (I now realise) were Marko Markov's!; a Mkrkchvika, Mitov, Tsonev, Boris Denev, and Stefan Ivanov




I think the seated lady is a Kiril Tsonev - unfortunately I got a bit confused in my scribbling on the catalogue - which turned out to show the work of Hristo Boyadjiev (1912-2001)
I am also confused about this one below - is it Stefan Ivanov?


No doubt about this one - it's Boris Denev!