The National Art Gallery is the largest and the most representative museum of the Bulgarian fine arts in the country. It is housed in the building of the former royal palace (declared a cultural monument in 1978), together with the National Ethnographic Museum.
The beginning of the collection was set in 1892 when the art department of the National Archaeological Museum was established. In 1948 by resolution of the Council of Ministers, the National Art Gallery was established as an independent institution.
The exposition of orthodox arts is presented in the crypt of the monumental temple “St. Alexander Nevski” in Sofia. The collection of works of art covers a large period of time – from the adoption of Christianity as an official religion in the Roman Empire in the 4th century to the Age of Bulgarian Revival (18th – 19th century), and it mainly consists of icons.
The collections of contemporary and modern Bulgarian art of the museum – from the Liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Dominion (1878) to the 1990s, contain more than 30,000 works of art, and they are divided into three basic expositions – high quality paintings, graphics and sculptures.
The paintings exposition is situated on the second floor of the gallery. One of the halls is dedicated to the art of the three greatest artists of the classical painting style of the 1930s – Dechko Uzunov (1899 – 1986), Iliya Petrov (1903 – 1975) and Nenko Balkanski (1907 – 1977).
The Bulgarian Impressionists are represented by Nikola Petrov (1881 – 1916), Yordan Kyuvliev (1877 – 1910), Tseno Todorov (1877 – 1953), Boris Mitov (1891 – 1963), etc. The canvases of the portrait painters Elena Karamihaylova (1875 – 1961) and Nikola Marinov (1879 – 1948) are also stored here.
Here are also the masterpieces of the greatest Bulgarian artists – Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora (The Master), Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Sirak Skitnik, Nikola Raynov, and many others.
The works of art of foreign authors, who created their art in Bulgaria, are also very important – these are the Czech artists Ivan Markvichka (1856 – 1938) and Jaroslav Vesin (1860 – 1915), etc.
Some of the best achievements of Bulgarian plastic art sculptors of the 20th century are presented in the museum collection, presented on the third floor.
Every year the gallery halls receive about ten expositions, dedicated to great Bulgarian artists and basic elements of contemporary and modern art.
Other public and private events are also organized in the halls, such as concerts, seminars, cocktails, etc.
The national art gallery has a library containing more than 6,500 issues, thematically related to art history, works of art of various artists and thier artistic life in Bulgaria, where they serve mainly to the exposition and scientific work of its associates, but they can also be used by external specialists.
Branches function at the gallery, such as the museum houses of the sculptor Ivan Lazarov and the artists Nikola Tanev and Vera Nedkova, and the crypt at the monumental temple Alexander Nevski.
1, ploshtad "Knyaz Aleksandar I", Sofia, Sofia City Province, 1000, Bulgaria.