Landscape, the representation of the natural world by artists, has thousands of years of history. It is one of the main genres in the art of the whole world. The landscape compositions include „eternal“ elements – mountains, rivers, seas, as well as signs of transitory nature the way our culture understands those – flowers, tress, and the changing skies. The visual rendering of features and details of a specific location is attracting as much the artists that are part of the European cultural tradition, as those from the Far and Near East.
The art of the landscape does not only show different countries and continents but is an expression of the philosophy, the knowledge and the strivings of the people and times that gave birth to it. Georgi Gachev, the writer and cultural studies expert, who has dedicated special attention to the image of nature in literature, writes that „Each national entity is a cosmos-psycho-logos, that is to say – a unity of nature, national character and logical patterns of thinking“.
From the idealized space of the biblical and mythological scenes, through the detailed depiction of nature as an element from the observation of the real world, all the way to the poetical or critical commentaries on the state of the environment – the canvases from „The Landscape“ exhibition are a reflection of steps taken in the course of the development of human culture and civilization.
These paintings, a small fraction from the so far not exhibited art works from the collection of the National Gallery for Foreign Art, represent authors from several continents and different cultures who have lived in periods of time far removed from each other. Some of the paintings on display were part of the royal collection of Tsar Ferdinand in the palace; others had been purchased from one of the first international art shows in Sofia in the beginning of the 20th century; a third group consists of paintings that became part of the collection after having been awarded at the various issues of the International Triennial of Realist Painting held in Sofia in the second half of the last century; still others were donated by the artists who had been visiting Bulgaria.
As in every museum, just like the visible part of an iceberg, only a small part of the collection is presented in the permanent exposition. The „underwater“ part of the collection, which is well known mainly to the curatorial staff of the National Gallery for Foreign Art and the art historians, is about to have many remarkable encounters with the audience.