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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!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ilia Petrov

Had a great privilege yesterday – to visit the house and studio of llia Petrov (1903-1975) - one of the great Bulgarian artists. According to the text I have, he -
worked in the style of the artists of the 17th century , combining silvery tones of Velazquez, cold pink flesh of Rubens and created powerful female portraits and nudes – with sophisticated shades of greenish and bluish, working with sophisticated techniques so that even today , 50 years after their creation, his paintings look as if they are still not dry. His paintings are almost impossible to reproduce.

He was born in Razgrad; and studied at Sofia Art Academy 1921-26 – latterly under Prof. Nikola Marinov. He went on to specialize in Munich and gave an exhibition there in 1928. On his way back to Bulgaria he did an extended tour of German cities, France, Austria and Italy to become acquainted with European traditions. In the late 1930s, disturbed by fascism, he did a series of paintings on The War in Spain. 1941-1967 he was Professor at Sofia Art Academy. 1961 visited India
Art teacher (1928 - 1940) From 1940 lecturer , from 1957 to 1968 - professor of painting at the Art Academy, Sofia , Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts (1957-1962) and Rector (1965- 1968. The Art School in Sofia bears his name.

After the communist takeover in September 1944, he took an active part in the management of the Union of Bulgarian Artists and was its Secretary-General (1949-1951 and 1957-1959) and participated in the work of "Monument to the Soviet Army" in Sofia.
He also did quite a few works of historical revolutionary themes : “Guerrillas in action”, “Before the shooting ", " Partisan Song", " The Messenger " but his true virtuosity seen in naked bodies , where he remains one of Bulgaria’s greatest artists. A young student did  this copy of a famous self-portrait he did which hangs in the National Gallery here ….Shades of Lucian Freud!

Left a tremendous amount of paintings - portrait sketches, animals - some of which, as I can testify, are still to be displayed in public.

It was, in fact, the sketches that most interested me – and I emerged from the meeting with his nephew, with about 10 of them as well as the painting!

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