Mount Athos in Andrey Yanev’s Paintings By Prof. Miroslav Dachev D.Ph. – 2006

By Prof. Miroslav Dachev D.Ph.

Mount Athos is a landmark in Andrey Yanev’s paintings in the wake of four trips he made to Mount Athos: in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Andrey Yanev is the painter who put together the first large-scale exhibition of paintings on Mount Athos in Bulgaria: on October 10  2006, on the day we commemorate the 26 holy martyrs of the Zografos Monastery at the  Sofia City Art Gallery, while on the day of the Christian family the exhibition was on display at the Sofia Seminary, opened in the presence of the Vidin Metropolitan Dometian and the Rector of the Seminary, Bishop Sionius. In this way the Bulgarian Christian Orthodox Church , art and scientific research reached out to each other at the end of 2006 and promised a new beginning under the heading “Mount Athos and Bulgarian Culture”.

The topic featured in Yanev’s canvases and thoughts long before the artist ever set foot on the peninsula. Mount Athos concentrates and grants depth to early visions, it  clothes mysticism in concrete terms, engenders novel mystery. Yanev’s wanderers discover a long-sought identity, the woolen cloaks replace bright colors with a new low-key tonality, feet trace the trail to the place of worship, hands clasp in supplication, forgiveness realizes where and why it was born to become a rote of life. Mount Athos is not Yanev’s avenue to new subject matter, it is the discovery and recognition of fragments of his spirituality. Scattered through the years while on myriad quests, these fragments are now bound together. Mount Athos perpetuates and instils meaning into the artist’s quests, it permeates his signature touch – it is reflected in his sketches, tonality and overall perception.

The water colors he draws, though representing individual monasteries or landscapes at Mount Athos, are rather generic images. They are both concrete, given to photographic representation, yet remain symbolic – these are the monasteries and landscapes to which his wanderers are journeying, there travellers find out who they are, whereas the olive tree leaves envelope the name of the Almighty, inscribed in the silent light of prayer.