Few years ago I visited Karlovy Vary, I felt like I was in the most wonderful place in the world. This is a city that is situated in the valley of the river Teplá.
The healing water, the nature and the ancient architecture - these are the miracles that make the Czech town of Karlovy Vary one of the most attractive resorts in the world and already six centuries reveals its possibilities of recovery. A legend of its origin says that a running from hunters deer took the German Emperor and Czech King Charles IV to the hot springs. He was amazed by this nature’s miracle and called the best chemists to determine the composition of the water. Then the king gave to the small village then called Vary (boiling) the privileges of the royal city and its name. So 1358 is considered to be the beginning of the creation of Karlovy Vary. Long time the inaccessible surroundings of the springs located far from the trade routes remained almost deserted, but lured by rumors for the unusually hot water and royal privileges people from different parts of the world began going there. In the beginning of the XIX large buildings started to appear on the river Tepla. Nobel people of Europe - emperors, kings, dukes, earls, prominent representatives of science and culture began going more often there for treatment and recreation. Goethe visited the beautiful village 13 times and he wrote to Humboldt : “Weimar Karlovy Vary and Rome are the only cities in which I want to live.”
Today plaques of impressive architecture buildings show that they have resided here Schiller, Beethoven, Bach, Liszt, Brahms, Smetana, Dvorak, Mickiewicz, Gogol, Turgenev, Paganini ... Here Egon Erwin Kish wrote his last report for Karl Marx who treated many times in Karlovy Vary. Although the city went through a lot of natural disasters, today it has more than a thousand buildings - architectural monuments in different styles typical for the past centuries. Among the most notable are the sanatoriums “Bristol”, “Richmond”, “Imperial”, “Sanssouci”,the castle “Loket”,the churches “Peter and Paul” (built by Peter I) and “Mary Magdalene”,some hotels and the dramatic theater. I knew that one of the places that should visit, is the Art Gallery on Lazne 3 because I’ve heard that it has exhibited works of my fellow countryman - the bulgarian painter Pavel Mitkov. Maybe 5-6 years ago I saw a painting by him for the first time. It was a beautiful landscape that seems to represent the perfection, the wisdom and the harmony in nature. The intensive green, yellow and blue colors, the contrast of lights and shadows that created cheerful mood captured my attention. After this I’ve seen a lot of his paintings on the Internet. In Bulgaria I have visited his exhibitions but the memory of the one I first saw in live, most clearly remained in my mind ...
When I was in the gallery I was looking are the pictures of Mitkov and felt his strength as a painter. Strength from its ability to obey all his emotional receptivity and scenic preferences of a creative start - to require the viewer his position as an artist. Paintings related to battles. They have appeared at a more mature stage in the work of Mitkov. Achieving a wise balance between the desire to have a bright emotional impact on the viewer through the elements and color, he also manages to reveals the overall sense in the subject. He is doing it in such a way without “telling” the event, but finding the exact moment in which things are happening. The painting is called Centurion. We can see the heavy battle. There is blood in every side and the sun barely shines through the dark curtain of executed soldiers on the battlefield. In the foreground is the Roman Centurion, surrounded by enemies. The soldier attacking bravely. With his one hand he is holding for the horse and with the other one he is attaching the enemy. Even the decoration of the helmet on his head and the proud horse assure us that he is the winner. He also like God decides who is going to live and who is going to die. The secret of life and death is the eternal theme in the spiritual culture of mankind. This picture makes me reflect on the eternal things in life. Probably in each of us lives part of the soul of Centurion. In the XXI century we must strive for the courage and determination we have to express not with sword, but with mind and intellect.
I am looking at the “Battle of Angels”. The canvas is again in dark golden variety. The colors that the artist uses the most to recreate the feelings in the “battle” category. But why do the angels fight ?! Like all living beings ,angels are also a creation of God. Through this picture we move into an era when the world was created. The angels, who are an integral part of the religion and mythology are the embodiment of the ideas of God. They carry a fire, peace, kindness and love. I imagine that the good actions create good angels. We all know that the bad, destructive actions could turn even the best creature into an evil one. This work shows me the eternal battle between good and evil. And we all know that sometimes good and evil are like twins - one cannot exist without the other. Evil seems to appear to teach us what is good. But why the main characters are angels? Probably to make us stop idealizing the good but constantly start fight for it! On the painting we can see the sea and the night sky that is pierced by the moonlight. In the foreground is a small lunar path. On the left side it’s like the sea is sinking into infinity. Here the nature is a higher standard of human values. This picture bears the hallmarks of a personal creativity. The theme of battles continues with two smaller paintings ... Battle of love, Battle during full moon. But it is true that our whole life is a constant struggle. Every day is big or small battle. For one a new beginning ,for other -an end…Surely battles are a very complex topic. Both in reality and in art and many questions appear by this topic in the work of Pavel Mitkov.
It’s time to move away from battles, because in front of me now is an incredible mix of other paintings. Sunflowers - more beautiful than real. I’ve seen the same picture recently on the website of the artist but here, the real canvas the beauty of the saturated colors, the elegant frame ... all this gives the work a peculiar and incomparable vitality!
On the left side of the sunflowers, in the same stylish frame and bright contrast is the picture “Alone with nature.” Feels creative maturity caused by imaginary perceptions of nature, which at the same time combined with her wisdom and harmony. The beauty of the forest’s landscape is combined with a feeling of complete relaxation. It’s like nature has given the artist colors by itself ... Green, yellow, blue overflow together to give the extraordinary expressiveness of the work. The green carpet extends everywhere, which merges with the sky, and a few figure-shaped rocks. From the top a stream of mountain river is noisily rushing. The water is clean and transparent. Over the river is a narrow bridge in which is a walking figure. This is Saint Ivan Rilski, a heavenly protector of Bulgarian people. In the back is the forest. It is dark and it’s like contrast of bright, greenish-yellow sky. The warm and bright colors are dominant in the painting. In this way the author has given his enthusiasm and inner mood. Looking at the picture, I feel both pleasure, affection and admiration. On this canvas is collected the beauty and majesty of nature.
Now it’s the turn of the old Bulgarian house. I know it is constantly present in the work of the artist through all his career. Because for the bulgarian nation the old house is a symbol of domesticity originality and ancient traditions. The painting brings me back to that rural environment, where folk songs, tales, legends have surrounded the life of bulgarians. It is incredible to be in another country and in front if your eyes to stand such a picture! I have one favorite topic of Pavel Mitkov, which was also present here - “The wet street” . The street of the big city ... Filled with people, thoughts, feelings, sighs ... it is also one of the favorite topics of the artist that retains over the years the main signs of his creative language, and it’s one of the most popular and successful works by him. The artist has an explanation for its magical power. In an interview he said: “After all, after rain the streets are washed , the air is clean and the reflections of trees and buildings are somehow magical. The rain washes everything and even purifies the souls of men ... “.
The flowers ... and their incredible power. Made on the canvas they give us the real sense of beauty, flavor and fragrance. People can talk, and flowers can express. The language of flowers is that unique and romantic way people express their most inner feelings and emotions without words. The flowers have the power to fill your heart with love. I’m sure that whoever has this Mitkov’s painting will feel the same. Because his flowers give originality and beauty, a sense of love for everything that surrounds us. Once again I feel that art is that magic that makes us forget the reality and sends our soul in an extraordinary world. My attention is captured by delicate water lilies. In this amazing composition the artist shows the water lilies, which are located on the surface of the water. This innocent white, fine and aromatic plant comes to life on the canvas and is a true elixir for the senses.
The sea ... after all I really needed it. This unusual and amazing element that attracts all dreamers and thinkers. In this picture, however, the sea is calm, with a light breeze. The sea in the glow of the sun shines in red lights. In the back I see a small boat, which seemed to sail my own memories and feelings. Maybe the author had a similar feeling when he was creating his work.
The feeling of tranquility and beauty is enhanced by a painting with delicate poppies. What I’ve seen so far makes me feel the temperament of the artist. The color composition is based on the contrast of red and dark tones. Here I want to mention another picture with poppies that is a bit different. The tenderness of poppies I was talking about here, has been replaced by a kind of dynamics. Maybe all this flow of information that floods us every day, or the dynamics and tensions that intensified in the modern world pull us down, if we do not show any resistance. There are people who overcome these things easily and others that overcome them more difficult. There are also those who give up. In Mitkov’s art this kind of messages are related to the complex spatiality that is always organized in a strict sense.
The true artist speaks on behalf of many people, he loves them and tries to understand them. Besides, in his works he always reflected the life of the modern society. Pavel Mitkov is a seeking artist. During the two decades of his life in which he is creating he is not satisfied with the achievements. He is always seeking new directions. Not surprisingly, his beautiful paintings occupy a worthy place in this wonderful gallery in Karlovy Vary and not surprisingly Deutsche Welle announces him as one of the most successful artists in Europe.
I saw all the pictures, and I have even returned to see some of them one more time .I still do believe that art should exist, because it gives us the power to change the world for better ...
Posted on June 22, 2015