In the days when Mankind has pained on the television screens the vandal destruction of ancient monuments of culture in Mesopotamia, and in Sofia there is a mahchel scandal after the opening of an impressive exhibition of our Thracian treasures in the Louvre, something Renaissance is happening in Varna. Literally a few days ago, the great Bulgarian and European artist Stoimen Stoilov finished and signed two monumental paintings (4×4 meters) that are already located in the foyer of the centennial classical building of the University of Economics. They were commissioned by the leadership of our authoritative school to mark two anniversary anniversaries – 95th University of Economics and 100th anniversary of the building of the academic building. A century ago arch. Nikola Lazarov and the sculptor Kiril Shivarov create one of the architectural masterpieces of Varna. Now Prof. Stoimen Stoilov came from Vienna and painted for ten months the two large compositions he wrote in the beautiful work of his predecessors. And the leadership of the University headed by the Rector, Prof. Plamen Iliev, writes his names of patrons in the history of the school, together with the generous first-timers.
Both works the author has called “Algorithm on the Beach” and “Allegory of the Sea”. They are full of opiate stories and stories from mythology, Thracian history and the Bogomils’ cosmogony, the beauty of the Late Renaissance and its rich culture, the atavistic “memories” of the ancient Odessos, which has left us with a high spirituality. Stoimen Stoilov is a courier of civilizations and epochs and wandering in Time, he seeks the higher manifestations of the human spirit. Placed in an environment filled with a youthful drive to science and prosperity, Stoimen Stoilov’s works become symbols of the pursuit of perfection.
Moderator of the idea is Valeriy D. Postharov, who is also the author of the special studios “Alegories of Stoimen Stoilov”.
Still young, Stoimen Stoilov, the artist, perceives that the picture is not an illustration, and that the intelligent author holds the weapon to build a vision behind which there are more messages than the visible. Traveling in Time, he discovers the old language of the allegory, presenting mostly in literature and theater. All mythology is allegorical, despite the seemingly literal nature of the narrative. In the Renaissance, Leonardo and his colleagues draw a series of allegorical works.
By creating two projects for the University of Economics in 2014, Stoimen Stoilov was aware that his huge paintings would be in the midst of high-powered and intelligent people. The story he creates, presented with the most characteristic aesthetic-plastic author’s expression, is filled with wisdom and vitality. To create a generalized allegorical image of the sea and the coast is a challenge. But I think that for the artist who was born and raised in Varna, it was an apotheotic creative chance! After such large-scale projects in Europe, America, Australia, he accepted the idea as a sign of a fateful return to the deep roots of the ancient coast where he was born.
The Thracians profess the belief that there are three levels of existence: underground, earthly and heavenly. But as a descendant of old civilizations lived on the shore of an ancient sea, Stoimen Stoilov prefers to make a paraphrase and introduce us into populated allegorical actions occurring on land and in the water. “Coastal allegory” symbolizes earthly existence, its relative metaphysics, and “horizontal,” subordinate to gravity, fate. The matrix is the center of various events of a life and spiritual nature. Over the people and animals, above the passions and the excitement, the sun shines with its merciful, fertile and warm light. But the shore is a sweet millennial, or violently overwhelmed by the Great Water. At the bottom of the seas and oceans, the sunken ships, signs and artifacts of missing civilizations, a hidden story is written. There, the past lies in mysticism, and the “lingering” figures of legend heroes forget about their materiality and seek the way up, to the sublime. In the “allegory of the sea” Stoimen Stoilov closes the circle of life, born in the great water and evolved to the HUMAN, who through art will seek the way to the perfection of the Creator. The theatrical compositions on huge canvases bring us hypnotically into action, which is a polyphonic coexistence of familiar and unfamiliar scenes and mythologies with different time addresses.
I will pay attention to several characteristic marks in Stoimen Stoilov’s work, which have become his trademark and would help us to read the signs and symbolism in the two allegories.
First of all, it is the “Stoil” human figure. One endorsement of the ancient Greek philosopher, Protagor, reads: “Man is a measure of all things.” In which period of Stoimen Stoilov’s work to peep, we will find a HUMAN in the center of the action. From the earliest years, the artist has demonstrated Renaissance adoration to the anatomy and harmonious beauty of the body, brought to an ideal by antiquity. But his predecessors from the late Renaissance also realized that Leonardo, Michelangelo and Rafaello were in vain to paint or make perfect human figures. After the dark early Middle Ages, God seemed to “drop” these geniuses at almost the same time on Earth, and back their talented hands to create unsurpassed perfection today. But let’s say that in the late Renaissance the artist, who is necessarily a good painter, began to look for other components of his expressiveness. This is how the manierism was born, allowed to bring arguments of deformation into the classical figure with which the author supports the suggestion sought. Andrea Manteña painted for the first time a picture of human figures in real growth, which have stalled in conditional staticity. Gesture and posture become a language of new plasticity. Botticelli “stretches” the optically emerging Venus to enhance graceality &. Stoimen Stoilov has repeatedly shared that if it is to be attributed to a style, it is manierism. The “captured” moment of semantic movement, the contingent contour / reminder of Roman coins and camels, the gesture as a characteristic of the character and the action, the elongated or abbreviated proportions in the otherwise anatomical figures, are the favorite techniques of the artist. This reinforces the allegorical suggestion and the theatricality of the vision, and in the earlier works of Stoilov the anatomical hyperboles also bring dramaticness. THE LINE AND THE DRAWING are sacred to the artist, because in their primacy, airiness and laconicity is encoded the spirituality of the characters / Do Leonardo, incidentally, leave behind mostly drawings? Then the matter, implicated in color and light, fills the spaces. On the elevated feminine beauty, Stoimen Stoilov opposes the expressed man’s severity and primacy characteristic of the Thracians in particular. Mythological characters are half-naked to emphasize the divine primal beauty of the body, and light draperies reinforce theatricality.
THE FAUNA in the painter’s works is also in an original imagery language. The one, still prehistoric inseparability of the man and the animal that caused the “artists” in the late Paleolith to paint the cave in Lasko, was occupied by Stoimen Stoilov. / “For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the animals is one,” Ecclesiastes 3:19. The painter puts the animals in their paintings with a silent but often meaningful role and meaning. The ancient fish is the beginning of life and Christ’s symbol, the mouflon is wisdom, the unicorn is mythical power and longevity, the gull is sea, poetry and flight, the rivers are fairy-tale … From the bibles of the bibles, man will produce musical instruments to announce the beginning of the battles, but from them he will drink the wine of victory. It would be interesting to make a gallery of all sorts of animal “specimens” born of the imagination of Stoimen Stoilov and his works in time. There would be an exotic Noah Ark.
THEATRICAL ACCESSORIES in the paintings of Stoimen Stoilov are a part of his “scenography”. Ancient art has set a special place on the helmet. It is an important military requisite and a sign of the rank and the power of the one who carries it / Athena Paladas /. The painting “Felly Gianni’s Spill between Achilles and Agamemnon” is a true parade of helmets. But Stoimen Stoilov gives his goddesses heroes of horses, birds, unicorns, hinting at the spiritual battles between people. The hats are similar to those who wore the ancient magicians or shots, and often the artist transforms them into beautiful floral motifs. The scenes from Comedy del Arte are full of colorful costumes. A special place among the symbolic accessories of the artist is the MASK. Some Thracian chiefs were buried with golden masks. But they are mostly anthropological letters for future archaeologists. Apart from being a carnival accessory, Stoimen Stoilov uses the mask mostly as a symbol of concealed duality. In a number of his paintings, she, animated, in successive frames, is broken, as a verdict against oblivion and oblivion.
Now let’s try to “get in” the two impressive compositions and, if possible, feel like part of the “action.”
ALEGORY ON THE BACKGROUND
It is the line of the fateful encounter of land with the Big Water, from which millions of years ago CREATED LIFE. The shore is a symbol. Only here live thousands of people for whom the sea is religion and livelihood. Did Christ go first to Capernaum, to the fishermen, to plant his doctrine? The Father in the lower left corner of the composition has carried on his head the ancient boat as a sacred object. On the swirling coastal path, over rocky rocks and endless fairy tales, the MAN who carried the huge fish as a symbol of Christ’s faith but also as an integral part of his essence. His face radiates ascetic sternness, but also enlightenment. We can accept the episode as an allegory of wearing the cross. Stoimen Stoilov surrounds the sacred man with a gallery of female images. In front of him is a young woman who has descended from a Renaissance fresco and a gaze lamp, as a tiny beacon for his beloved, who has not yet returned from the sea. Above it are three female images that we could identify with Faith, Hope, and Love, without which the earthly path is unthinkable. And perhaps the Faith is that with the bird on the shoulder, because the hair & transitions into a new triune image as a symbol of continuation. And the old clown-juggler on the left-up reminds us that life is a difficult balance between joy and sorrows (the two red balls).
The entire right of the composition is an allegory of art and spirituality. Is there a more blessed place to do them off shore? Human history with countless examples answers this rhetorical question. The ancient Odessos himself confirms it. Stoimen Stoilov “turns” his action and heroes mirroring the left half, achieving symmetry and balance in the composition. But here we also rely on the sign of the spirituality that separates itself from the beatitude. Different groups of people, accessories, and symbols symbolize the arts. The scorching fuzzy frescoes reminiscent of Renaissance specimens; decorative stylized head, human leg and fish invite us to an odd hour in anatomy with Prof. Stoimen Stoilov; viola is a remembrance of Orpheus, and the scars on it are a sign of suffering in art; the man has removed his theatrical mask of life to be recognized by the wise unicorn; two couples lead us to the ancient and late Renaissance theater and the pomegranate, not the apple symbolizes the difficult love between man and woman. The characters are silent and speak mostly with gestures. The artist’s incomprehensible tongue puts the work in mystery.
Interesting and symbolic is the upper right of the composition. The flying figure is not an angel of Christian iconography, but rather one of the Bogomil apocrypha. He is human in nature and is more of a guardian of everything going on the shore. But Stoimen Stoilov has loaded him with moral semantics. It seems he throws the mask with his left hand and breaks it with his right. “Destroy the duplicity and the frailty in yourself,” says the angel to the mere mortals!
Not in vain, the colorful allegory on the shore is warm, overflowing from the pastel ocher, through the warm yellow and orange to the fiery red. Life on the shore, with its bitterness and spirituality, flows beneath the burning, fertile rays of the sun. With a thinly painted painting layer and masterful velichouri Stoimen Stoilov gives the airiness of the image and the feeling of a little fabric on the canvas.
ALEGORY OF THE SEA
Carrying us into the azure depths of the Big Water, Stoimen Stoilov builds a composition full of harmony. Here it is built perfectly symmetrically to the imaginary axle line that “splits” the fish and conditionally divides the central pair of male and female. Love, with its biblical, luminous or dramatic essence, is the center of the dramaturgy in the foreground of the composition. The artist exchanges the roles of Adam and Eve, possibly transferring them to another time. The Biblical woman walks through life beautiful, proud, unimpeded and … with a mask in her right hand. Adam is in the season of loving courtship, and with the hat of a plump-eared male he sings love hymns, enticing Eve with a pomegranate, and in mythology this fruit is semantically connected to wisdom and by using it very often, Stoimen Stoilov brings a little morality to the image. But the artist painted the most commonly plowed pomegranate with decaying juice, creating a delicate erotic symbol. Behind the biblical couple is a wise man with a laurel wreath on his head. I would accept that this is the ancient Roman master of love elites Ovid. With a sandwich in his hand he measures the time of earthly happiness and vanity. At the right-hand side, the exotic marine ruler points to the artifacts on the bottom as signs of missing civilizations. At the same time, his hand, along with the walking Eve, strangely framed the image of a woman dressed in earthly goods and flowers. It reminds of the goddess of fertility Demetra and allegorically connects the earth with the living water. But Demeter also protects the sacred union between husband and wife, and wisely observes what is happening.
The indisputable visual allegory in Allegory of the Sea is the almost-left-handed pair of male and female figures. The association for the mythological stealing of Europe, recreated in so many works of art over the centuries, immediately emerged. I prefer to see the Athenian hero Thezeus, who has defeated the minotaur in the maze built by Dedal on the island of Crete. The battle helped Ariadna, gave him a rescue ball to find the exit. The Stoimen Stoilov artistic thesis is with a trophy helmet on the head and all its state radiates the dignity of the winner. Ariadna is a happy volunteer captive and repeats Theseus’s winning gesture. She finally won the heart of her beloved man. On the knee of the hero there is a pomegranate that drops its sweetness …
The third couple in the composition has sunk into mystical excitement and contemplation. Here Stoimen Stoilov immerses his characters in the cold colorful range and they are like having emerged from the sea visions. The man holds a bunch of pomegranates, which are poured out in front of the young woman. Is this not the underground god Hades, seducing the kidnapped lovely daughter of Demeter Proserpina? She tasted the sweet berries of the exotic fruit and is already his captive.
The rich allegories of love in the composition are made out of divine antique music and are crowned with two symbolic figures. A left-most mythological goddess, watching the action, pointing up. Parallel to her, on the right, a flying male figure full of idealized spirituality has patronically extended her hand over the characters of Stoimen Stoilov. Warm or not, but our imagination is parallel to the center of the majestic composition of Rafaello “Athens School”. There, Plato pointed to the divine inspiration with the finger of his right hand, and Aristotle opened a patronizing palm symbolizing the power and nobility of earthly intelligence.
The indisputable author’s artistic provocation is the huge fish, staying metaphysical over the beautiful and dramatic action. As I mentioned earlier, it is an unmistakable symbol in the art of the artist. Prehistoric memory of the life of the water. Now Stoimen Stoilov has built on the back & cubist composition, and below it sinks to the bottom small geometric abstractions. Those, seemingly absurd of the aesthetics of the picture, “foreign bodies”, are an indication of the untapped artistic imagination. The ancient fish bears the attributes of a new culture as a symbol of the changing but everlasting art, and sinking pieces of paper are like letters from the future. And there, on the seabed, they will become artifacts for subsequent civilizations.
The two large-format allegorical compositions of Stoimen Stoilov are apotheotic worship of the author before the eternal spirituality. Among so much physical physical beauty, she is the divine halo of Man. Както казват древните: „Cosa bella mortal passa, e non d’arte!” – Хубавото при смъртните отминава, изкуството остава .