3 September 2021, Bulgarian Cultural Institute
Link to the event – http://www.bki.cz/bgev/ot-vazrazdaneto-do-saedinenieto/?lang=bg/
On the 3rd of September at 17.00 an „Evening of Bulgaria“ took place at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in Prague, organized by the participants in project №2020-1-BG01-KA204-078972 „Qualification of Bulgarian Language and Literature Teachers. Cross-Border Bulgarian Studies“.
The evening was opened by Mr. Volodya Gotsev in the presence of many guests – Bulgarians living in the Czech Republic and Czechs who were able to follow the event thanks to the consecutive translation. Mr. Gotsev briefly introduced the idea of the evening and gave the word to Dr. Lyudmil Veselinov, who presented the virtual exhibition “Renaissance prints – XVII – XIX century”.
The exhibition presents a part of a large graphical collection. The exhibition includes mainly prints from Bulgarian Rila Monastеry and from Mount Athos monastery engraved on wood and metal.
Stamps are prints on paper from engraved images on wooden mold or copper plates. They have religious content, and their purpose is to maintain the religious feelings of the Orthodox Christian.
The thematic scope of the Renaissance print includes scenes from Christ’s cycle, the biblical calendar and images of saints images often presented with scenes from their lives. It also comprises the images of canonized personalities. The theme of St. Ivan Rilski and his followers is particularly widely covered. During the Ottoman rule these images maintained the spirit of patriotism among the Bulgarian people.
In the beginning, the paintings and engravings created by Renaissance artists were printed in printing centers abroad. Small number of copies were carried back to the monasteries in Bulgarian lands and their distribution started from there. Later, due to the difficulties in transportation, printing was done in some Bulgarian monasteries and prints became more accessible.
As the event was held in the days before the 136th anniversary of the Unification of Bulgaria, the word was given to Prof. Amelia Licheva, who introduced to an audience an extremely interesting historical series of Colibri Publishing House. The idea for publishing the books was given by Daria Karepetkova who is also a translator of the series. Special emphasis was put on the book “Bulgaria and the Future of Slavs” by Giuseppe Menarini (written in 1892). It is unpublished so far in Bulgarian language comment made from the first person, written by Italian military, who was a contemporary of the events around the Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia.
People who are interested in this book will be able to buy it with a reproduction of lithography “Eternal Bulgarian Question” (1886). Giuseppe Menarini emphasizes on the complex position of Bulgaria which was an object of interests of the great powers. He sees the Unification as a manifestation of the independent spirit and determination of Bulgarians and writes about the role of Alexander Battenberg who defended decisively Bulgarian interests. That is why the author sees the Unification as a significant Bulgarian revolution, promising an important place of Bulgaria in Europe.
A lot of pages in the book are dedicated to Russia and the thesis of Menarini about its desire to fuel intestine war between the Balkan countries in order to neutralize the emergence of a leader among them. This motivated position which has nothing in common with the image of Russia in works of Ivan Vazov, is well supported through a cartoon on a third cover with a title “Eternal Bulgarian Question”. It illustrates the widely popular impression of Russia’s conquest interests in Bulgaria. A fragment of this lithography has also been used for the cover of the edition.
Menarini’s book is new to Bulgarian audience and is a real bibliographic treasure, which could be interesting for the entire Slavic world. The text has a disarming dignity and sounds extremely contemporary and authentic.
In the final, the word was given to Assoc. Prof. Daria Karapetkova, who added new touches to the book of Menarini and presented an extremely intriguing exhibition: “Captain Moreno’s cards” or the true person behind a character in the short novel “As the Frost Melts” (1950) of Emilian Stanev.
Emilian Stanev was inspired for his character – Captain Negro, from a real person. The writer met former sailor Mihail Paliev in Elena and appointed him as a guardian in a hunting farm where they worked together for a year. Paliev was known with a nickname Moreno, and with colorful stories, that he told. In them he combined truth and imagination and although not all people took his stories seriously, the great writer recognized in his personality the potential of an unusual literary hero. The audience at the Cultural Institute had the opportunity to understand whether the Captain Moreno is a product only of a rich imagination?
Scanned and enlarged images of small-size cards introducing the broad world through the eyes of Mikhail Paliev were presented in the Hall of the Cultural Institute. They were sent over the years to his mother Rosa Palieva from close and distant latitudes. By virtue of family links and interpersonal relationships today they are owned by Daria Karapetkova. She shared with the audience some details about Emilian Stanev’s relationship with the city of Elena, the colorful people of the city from the first half of the twentieth century and lots of facts that can hardly be read in the guides. We witnessed not only a literary, but also a personal family story.
At the end of the evening, guests had the opportunity to talk with participants of the project and to buy books for the Slavic library and for their personal collections.