BORIS GORINOV’s WORLD OF MINIATURES
The Bulgarian artist-painter, who has produced one of the largest collections of miniatures in Europe, will be presented online on the platform for Bulgarian and world art 5new until mid-December.
The new generation of the public probably knows little about the painter Boris Gorinov, but he remains well known among collectors at home and abroad, and especially among fans of acrylic and oil in miniature format. The artist developed his career in the years between World War II and the end of the Cold War. Together with his wife, the famous Bulgarian ceramist Yova Raevska, he has a number of memorable and emblematic joint exhibitions, as well as many bold artistic projects, mostly with natural elements – cork, seashell, pine cones, pebbles, cacti and etc., outside the borders of the country. The smaller the size of the tile on which Boris places his miniature, the richer and deeper the world seen through his brush becomes.
The ability of the artist to collect a whole composition into a one centimeter template is a testimony not only to his undeniable talent, but also to the way he looked at the world – knowing it “like the back of his hand”. Boris Gorinov remained a cosmopolitan personality until he passed in 1998, bequeathing to his family and the Bulgarian public an impressive collection of miniature paintings that can easily compete with world masterpieces, say expert art critics. The artist’s collection is being looked after by his family and miniature paintings exceed a thousand.
Boris Gorinov, born in 1915 is from Pazardzhik and son of Ivan Gurinov –the painter, portraitist, who lived from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. Boris was born with a brush in his hand, and the path to and from art has always been his destiny and love. It was this love that likely brought him together with Yova Raevska in 1944, with whom he had two sons.
The first romantic meetings with Yova Raevska happened not just anywhere, but namely in the National Artist’s Academy (NAA) studios, where Yova studied Ceramics and Boris – Painting. The passionate love between the two artists gave rise to a stormy and active public and creative career. After several years of teaching in Pazardzhik, the couple moved to Sofia and lived in a studio on Slivnitsa Blvd., which later became a bohemian hotspot for the artistic cohorts of their younger son, Kras Gorin, who confidently followed in his parents’ footsteps as a professional artist. Kras graduated from art school in Italy and now lives and works in the USA with his family. Kras combined the talents inherited from his mother and father and actively devoted himself to mosaic painting and outdoor art. He, unlike his father, tends towards the more monumental form, though interest in mosaics was awakened precisely by his father, Boris Gorinov. In addition to frequent family visits to the USA, Boris managed to hold several solo exhibitions in Great Britain, Italy and the USA, after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
In the meantime, Boris and Yova manage to build a small house in the foothill outskirts from the center of Sofia, where they devote themselves, in addition to art, to one of their favorite activities – growing a small vegetable garden.
Unlike Yova Raevska, who developed a noteworthy career as an artist and public figure until the beginning of the new century, painting did not become a professional field for Boris. He chose to devote himself to teaching Fine Art in a metropolitan school and, above all, to raising their two boys. For Boris Gorinov, miniatures are more of a hobby and he makes some of his most significant works precisely in the spring and summer months, when usually he and Yova are at their villa by the sea. The marine theme and nature in Bulgaria in general, with all these unique elevations and iridescent colors and shades, inspires Boris to create miniatures with stunning depth. The small house in the wild and at that time uninhabited Black Seaside village of Sinemorets was located right on the Turkish border and next to huge spacious meadows that allowed him to connect and be inspired by nature’s surroundings.
In the collection that we have chosen to show you on the 5new site in the next few weeks, you will see precisely such works, inspired by the Balkans and our Black Sea. But Boris Gorinov does not limit the audience’s imagination only to our area. After a landmark visit to the Arizona wilderness, Yova and Boris depart, leaving behind a perfectly manicured and developed vegetable garden, for which Yova makes the planters, and Boris a series of still lifes with very fruit and vegetable tones.
Despite his many travels around Europe and the USA, his passionate love for Bulgaria remains a major source of inspiration. This strong connection to the country remains rooted in the paintings themselves. Until the end of his life, he harbored the deepest feelings, and his attachment to the beautiful nature in Bulgaria remained unshakable. “The new world, with its luster and progress, failed to attract Boris even to his end of days,” testify his relatives. In Bulgaria, you don’t need to drive for hours to see a beautiful view or amazing mountain peaks. In contrast to America, where every journey is tied to a lot of time, resources and money, in Bulgaria, in one picture and without any effort, the artist contemplates colorful pictures from the banks of the Danube and the Black Sea, the peaks of the Rhodopes, Pirin and Vitosha, boundless meadows and turbulent rivers. It was this world, without limits in the palette, that the artist saw and captured in his miniatures – so small and at the same time so deep and full of mood.
Boris Gorinov’s style is distinguished by characteristic everyday literalistic plots, but at the same time with metaphorical messages. One of the key elements in the paintings is the sense of humor and ease with which he recreates the world around him. This is also evident from the titles of some of the works. Among the preserved paintings, in addition to those of landscape views, food products and vegetables, cacti from Arizona, there are occasional portraits of faces he himself remembered. “My father had an amazing talent for physiognomy,” says Kras Gorin in an autobiographical interview conducted in 2021 by the 5new team. An easily provable and visible testimony to this statement is a real find in creative and historical terms – a small sketchbook with portraits of soldiers whom he happened to meet during the war years.
In the collection of miniatures there are works with the size of a postage stamp up to 30×30 cm. In his earlier years, the artist has preserved several portraits on canvas of larger sizes (100×100 cm), but at a later stage Gorinov never returns to this format.
Artworks by Boris Gorinov – View, acrylic, undated / creative period 1960 – 1980 /, 10×11 cm, Sunflowers, oil paint, undated / creative period 1960 – 1980 /, 10×12 cm, Spring, oil paint, undated / creative period 1960 – 1980 /, 10×10 cm, Rays, oil paint, undated / creative period 1960 – 1980 /, 9×13 cm,
The characteristic of his work is that, despite their small size, the works allow and even require to be viewed from afar in order to perceive the overall picture of the landscape and the complex composition. These are big plots brought in on a very small scale. Boris himself as an artist paints completely freed from the trends of the time in which he develops. His approach is innovative. He works with a spatula and oil paints on various flat surfaces, which he often even makes himself. As a canvas, he uses almost any surface – from wood and metal, to cardboard and canvas.
Selected works for the 5new platform will be available in the coming weeks in mid-December for direct order. The works were provided by Amy Gorin Chapman – current owner of the family collection and granddaughter of Boris Gorinov and Yova Raevska. All works are original, unique and have a certificate of authenticity. Additional custom framing can be ordered.
Learn more on how to purchase these beautiful miniatures and become a part of the almost 100 years old collection’s history here.