Bulgaria opens its first Museum of Socialist Art
Monday 19 September 2011
Twenty-two years after the fall of its communist regime, Bulgaria opened on Monday its first-ever museum of the state-sponsored, propaganda art characteristic of that era.
The Museum of Socialist Art in Sofia exhibits some 77 sculptures, 60 paintings and 25 smaller plastic art works created between 1945 and 1989 by the most renowned sculptors and painters of the time.
Mostly commissioned by the regime for propaganda purposes, the collection contains numerous full-length statues, busts, heads and portraits of the Soviet Union's founding father Vladimir Lenin, Bulgaria's first communist leader Georgy Dimitrov and long-ruling dictator Todor Zhivkov.
Other works glorify the life of the working classes and the feats of the partisan movement that brought communism to Bulgaria in 1944.
"It was high time to put that era where it belongs - in a museum," Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov said at the opening.
Museum workers fished for the items in the collection "town by town, warehouse by warehouse, cellar by cellar, looking to save everything, which has not been melted," Rashidov said, expressing hopes that he would see the collection grow over the years.
Innumerable stone and bronze sculptures, paintings, statuettes, red stars and hammer-and-sickle symbols adorned public squares and key buildings across Bulgaria during the 45-year reign of its communist regime.
They were largely removed after Zhivkov's ousting in 1989. Many were destroyed, others doomed to oblivion.
Displaying them, however, was expected to turn into "one of Sofia's biggest tourist attractions to both foreigners and younger Bulgarians, who did not live Communism," Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said.
"These are also masterful works, made by some of the finest Bulgarian artists of the time," Rashidov reminded, noting the purely artistic value of the collection.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant