The Christian art exposition of the National Gallery is housed in the crypt of the monumental temple “St. Alexander Nevsky” in Sofia. Its primary objective is to present comprehensively the evolution of Christian fine art in the Bulgarian lands, making the collection unique and unparalleled in other national and regional museum institutions in Bulgaria.
Spanning from the official Christianization of the Roman Empire in the 4th century to the Bulgarian national revival (18th – 19th centuries), the exposition covers a significant historical period marked by turbulent events and dramatic turns in the nation’s destiny. These historical events indirectly reflect on the artworks, which serve as cultural and social indicators of each era.
The formation of the Crypt’s exposition took place relatively late, in the mid-1960s, a period when cultural policies in socialist countries began to soften in terms of doctrinaireism and militant atheism. This change in perspective allowed medieval artworks to be viewed not solely as a form of religious propaganda but as part of the cultural and historical heritage of the nation, valued for their artistic and aesthetic qualities.
The exhibition includes significant works from various institutions such as the National Archaeological Institute with a museum, the National Church History and Archeology Museum, museums in Shumen, V. Tarnovo, Nessebar, Ruse, as well as collections from Boboshevo, galleries in Plovdiv, and monasteries like Rila, Bachkovsky, and Preobrazhensky. Through collaborative efforts, the exhibition presents Orthodox fine art in its entirety and diversity.
While the main focus is on icon painting, the exhibition also incorporates partial presentations of monumental painting where necessary. The Crypt’s exhibition aims to illustrate the species and functional diversity of Orthodox art, encompassing works from applied arts, prints, manuscripts, and old printed books, albeit not claiming to fully represent the development of medieval monumental painting in the Bulgarian lands.
On Thursday: BGN 2.00.
Pupils, students and pensioners: BGN 3.00.
Adults: BGN 6.00
Free entry: children up to 12 years old, visitors with physical disabilities, pupils and students of art schools, employees of museums and galleries, journalists, members of SBH, ICOM, ICOMOS, AIAP, AICA.
Tuesday – Sunday:
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
(checkout – until 5:30 p.m.)
Monday – day off