Boyko Kolev

Boyko Kolev
Boyko Kolev is a Bulgarian artist about whom I have little background information. Most of what I know is simply gleaned from his web site, which offers no biographical profile, and his space on deviantART, which has a few odds and ends.

His painting style might be classed as hyperrealism, though he seems to play with the very fact that he is chasing that state of realistic illusion in art by offering up images that reference other images, or the act of creating other images.

My favorites of his, though, are his simple, directly and keenly observed still life subjects, like his painting The Bread (above, top, larger version here); in which his delicate handling of textures, subtle colors and deft suggestion of the interplay of shadow and light immediately put me in mind of the early still life studies of bread by Salvador Dalí. I later saw that Kolev had, in fact, done a bread painting directly inspired by Dalí’s bread paintings (and here).

Kolev has spent time investigating the work of past masters, including painting replicas of works by Van Gogh, Monet, Klimt, Bruegel, Correggio, Vermeer and, others. (See my posts on Klimt, Correggio and Vermeer.)

I particularly enjoy his painstakingly detailed replica of Jan van Eyck’s beautiful Portrait of Giovani Arnolfini and his Wife (See my post on Jan van Eyck in which I talk about this remarkable painting.)

Kolev has a special fascination with the works of Leonardo da Vinci, and has done several replicas of Da Vinci’s works, as well as referencing Da Vinci’s work in many of his illusionary self-referential paintings, like his oil painting of his own preparatory sketch (above, bottom left) for his replica of Da Vinci’s wonderful Lady with an Ermine (bottom, right, Da Vinci original here).

When viewing Kolev’s web site galleries, take note that there are multiple pages, both in original paintings and replicas, accessed by numbered links at the bottom of the thumbnail area.

[Suggestion courtesy of Robert Tracy, see my previous post about Robert Tracy]


6 Replies to “Boyko Kolev”

  1. while he’s technically fascile the work is ultimately boring. In the age before photography this rigorous style would have had a place but now that photography is here, why bother replicating what a camera does very well and easily? Now painters should be free to be less faithful, free to smear the colored goo with their fingers.

    That said, if what Boyko does makes him happy, then so be it.

  2. I understand. I find a lot of “photorealist” art boring, but I don’t get bored when good painter has something to show me, and I enjoy the point of view and visual comments Kolev makes with his references to the very subject of illusionistic art in his own illusionistic art. Also, I think the response to this kind of painting is different in person, than in reproduction, which tends to emphasize or even exaggerate the “photographic” qualities.

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