The monument to Vladimir Dimitrov, located in front of the Union of Bulgarian Artists building in Sofia, shares an identical design with the one situated in front of the country’s largest and most affluent art gallery, the “Vladimir Dimitrov – Master” Art Gallery in Kyustendil. Sculpted by the talented artist Velichko Milenkov, these monuments pay homage to the renowned artist.
Born in 1882 in the Kyustendil village of Florosh, Vladimir Dimitrov – Master embarked on his artistic journey by entering the Drawing School in Sofia in 1903, where he studied until 1910 without completing the program. He served as a calligraphy teacher at the Svishtov High School from 1911 to 1918, where he crossed paths with Nikolay Liliev. Dimitrov participated in the Balkan, Inter-Allied, and First World Wars, documenting his experiences through numerous drawings depicting life in the trenches.
Post-war, Dimitrov’s art took a new direction, often associated with modernist European influences by contemporary critics, a view he opposed. He believed in the power of naturalism, considering it the path to perfect classical form and profound emotion. In the early 1920s, he exhibited alongside his cousin Nikola Georgiev, receiving enthusiastic reviews.
In 1921, he took part in the Jubilee Academic Exhibition and organized his inaugural solo exhibition in the “Royal Manege” in 1922. His works sparked debates between traditionalists and advocates of innovative trends in Bulgarian art. In the aftermath of the wars, Dimitrov created oil and watercolor landscapes characterized by boldness and vibrant colors. His “spiritual ecstasy” landscapes often employed only two or three colors. The artist painted a series of six self-portraits from 1919 to 1921 and produced compelling images of gypsy women known for their energy and expressiveness. Around 1920, he initiated the “Harvest Cycle,” dominated by fiery-violet tones, minimal figuration, and a sensation of intense flames and heat.
Vladimir Dimitrov – Master passed away in Sofia on September 24, 1960, leaving behind a lasting legacy in Bulgarian art.