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Pavel Mitkov

Pavel Mitkov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1977. He took up painting in 1994 while still at high school. Later, he earned a degree in Landscape Design. Mitkov quickly made progress in the world of art. For just a few years he became one of Bulgaria’s best selling painters and in 2007, a Deutsche Welle documentary even pitched him as one of Europe’s most successful artists whose art has a universal appeal. He got international recognition in 2004 when the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Board of Trustees commissioned and made a gift of Mitkov’s painting to then Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was on a visit Bulgaria. That brought in plenty of commissioned artworks and prestigious exhibitions. Mitkov’s paintings have also been presented as gifts to Pope John Paul II, King Albert II of Belgium, Pope Benedict XVI, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Russian Patriarch Kirill and other dignitaries from all over the world. With numerous international exhibitions in Europe, the USA and Russia (See Exhibitions), Mitkov’s artworks have become a benchmark for success. Mitkov has been awarded a number of prizes including:

  • Laureate of the Medal of Franz Kafka;
  • World Prize of Salvador Dali for Fine Arts by the Salvador Dalí International Alliance
  • Order of Lomonosov;
  • Prize for Fine Arts of Masarykova Academy, Prague;
  • Gold Medal, France 29th January 2009;
  • Diploma of participation at the International Painting Camp "Bucovina - Past, Present, and Future", Romania 2011

He has been taking an active part in the political, social and artistic life both in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the world. He has opened his galleries in Berlin, Germany, Karlowi Wari, the Czech Republic, Moscow, Russia, Verona, Italy, Washington and New York, the USA. He loves the East and is a regular visitor to Tokyo, Japan and Vladivostok, Russia among others. Mitkov’s art conveys a message of peace, kindness and harmony. The artist determines three periods in his art spanning over 12 years each. (See Periods). Pre-2000, 2000-2012, post-2012

The most fascinating period is from 2012 on. Mitkov highlights two particular dates in it: 21.12.2012, supposedly the end of the world, and 10. 02.2013, the beginning of the Age of Aquarius and the Chinese New Year. According to the artist, that was the time when the mankind chose its future 2000-year cycle and the good prevailed. Always positive, always filled with a lot of energy, Mitkov turned his latest period into a life mission. It is not about just composing paintings but rather about creating and putting enormous love into canvases. The painter believes a painting can make a real difference in a man’s life.

Pavel Mitkov - Timelines

What periods is Pavel Mitkov’s art categorised in?

  • First period, before 2000 - Awareness
  • Second period, 2000-2012 - Insight
  • Third period, post 2012 - Enrichment

The periods have been defined by the painter himself as 12-year development cycles related not only to the artist’s work but also to a man’s overall development. One cycle ends only for another to begin. A person faces many challenges that need to be addressed. “Each period usually starts for me with strong motivation, a shift in a new direction and total transformation. Judging from the cycle length determined, the first period must have started in 1988 when I was not into painting yet. It was not until 1994 that I took my first steps in painting – in the middle of that 12-year interval. In 1988, at the age of 11, however, I remember taking a pen and writing what I wanted to become for the first time”.

Mitkov’s childhood aspirations naturally were about wearing a tight white T-shirt and jeans, building muscles and winning out over the “bad guys”. Still, it was indeed the start of becoming aware, self-aware of himself as a person who could change things. Barely 11, young Pavel was full of energy and life plans. He kept rabbits and by the time he was 12, he already had 112 rabbits, taking care himself of grooming, feeding and mating them. This later turned into one of the future artist’s first business endeavours.

Pavel grew up taught to work hard, taking care of pets, mowing and helping his parents build their house. He was ridiculed by his classmates, who were interested in a very different sort of things at the time. In 1994, the middle of his awareness period, he took up painting, influenced by his mother but still by a mere chance. His parents met famous Bulgarian painter Bozhidar Hadzhistoyanov. He brought Pavel brushes and paints, introduced him to the basics of painting and then left him on his own. Pavel quickly mastered the brush.

During that period, Mitkov’s works were greatly influenced by his tutor’s art. He borrowed themes from Bozhidar Hadzhistoyanov’s art until late 1999 or early 2000. That is why the period is known as ‘awareness’ – Mitkov was searching for his own self and had no plans to take up painting in earnest. The end of this period was very tumultuous for the artist, with a transition to real life and taking the first blows from it. At the age of 11, he fell in love for the first time (platonically, of course), at 22 he got married, got divorced at 24, then fell in love and started a life together with the woman of his life. That was the end of building self-awareness and the beginning of insights. Late 1999 and early 2000 saw Mitkov compose the following painting: The painting is titled Two Worlds.

It depicts two burning boats, two worlds in rough seas. In the sky, there is a vision, a dream of a house. It is what later on became a brick-and-mortar house Mitkov built himself. Just look at the house Mitkov painted in 1999 and the one he built as his home in 2005. The burning boats symbolise love, which every person feels during their lengthy voyage in the deep, lonely seas. Waves rock the boats, fire turns the sails, the mast and the hull to ashes and salvation can only be found in a home, family and a stork on the chimney. By the time the house was ready, Mitkov had already got two “visits from the stork” and a little later, a real stork made a nest on the chimney. No need for any interpretations – everything is clear in hindsight and serendipity had nothing to do with it. “I remember that when I was painting this, I threw off all restraints and thoughts. I was in a kind of trance. When I came round, the painting was right there before me, just as we see it now. Little idea did I have what it meant but I knew it was for me.” From 2000 to 2012 Mitkov matured, started a family, created a home and a business, but in the end, he all but lost everything. “Until 2006, everything had been so strong, on an upswing, that I took myself too seriously and I made mistakes that all but cost me everything. The problem was that I had achieved too much too quickly for my age so I figured I was invincible. I ventured into a new business and besides painting, I went into real estates. That industry was highly profitable in Bulgaria at the time. I bought and sold land and apartments, built housing, but when the economic meltdown hit in the late 2007 and early 2008, I was deep in debt. The property market imploded and interest rates shot up. People panicked and also got poorer. Nothing was going the way it was supposed to and banks demanded payment. At that time, it was painting that saved me, as I entirely turned to it.” The burning enamoured boats are caught in a storm and the captain can count only on nobody but himself. Wind rocks them ruthlessly and threatens destruction to the home. Only the strong survive.

I have always been a person who takes responsibility. It is my nature, my conscience and my upbringing. After 2007 I realised, though, that it was people who took responsibility that bore the brunt of it all. They fell victim to greed, laziness and those hiding behind little contract terms, law provisions and bank operations. It was a battle between traitors and the worthy. Actually, it was not a battle at all but rather traitors firing from ambush at unsuspecting honest people. My takeaway from that period – I learnt to listen to my heart; I learnt to love God; I learnt to treasure my family; I learnt not to give up – valuable lessons.” The closing came on 21.12.2012, the date thought to mark the end of the world all over the globe.

“It was when the world changed course for me – a course for the good, for spiritual development and bloom. In fact, I really felt it happening on 10.02.2013 when the Earth entered the Age of Aquarius. There came the Chinese New Year, kicking off the Year of the Snake – the animal sign I was born under, too. In other words, the good won.” And it is the end of the ‘insight’ period and the beginning of ‘enrichment’. The beginning of that period saw the making of the following diptych: The painting is titled 21.12.2012

Angel Pegasus unbridles earthly Pegasus from the fetters of the evil spirit. Now it is free and will also rise as an angel, ushering the age of love.

Mitkov’s latest paintings mark the start of the new period. They convey a completely different message, being a source of a tangible spirituality attained through years of battling his inner self and the world. Mitkov is no longer trying to paint everything. He no longer paints just for money or does commissioned work unless he can relate the work to a spiritual mission. His paintings are now priced times as high, reflecting the experience and emotions he puts into them. “I have come to realise that a painting can show you and change your life. It is alive and although it does not really move, it can take you to the farthest corner of the Universe in a fraction of a second. Although it does not speak, it can tell you much more than (sometimes boring) TV shows. And although it is not a living human, it can give you so much love that you will feel the most beloved person in the world. What matters is the emotion you put into composing it. That is its soul.”


  • 2014 - Monaco, Art Monaco 2014
  • 2014 - Luxembourg, Russian Charity Ball, Vernissage of the exhibition
  • 2013 - Austria Innsbruck - ART Innsbruck 2013
  • 2012 - Russia, Vladivostok - Exhibition "Europe - La Manche to Vladivostok"
  • 2012 - Greece, Mykonos - Opening of the new Mitkov's Gallery
  • 2011 - Russia, Moskow – Art Manege Moskow Art Fair 2011
  • 2011 – Switzerland, Zurich – Kronen Galerie
  • 2011 – Germany, Bremen – HanseArt Fair 2011
  • 2011 - Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary - Opening of the new Mitkov's gallery at Grandhotel Pupp
  • 2011 - Russia, Moscow - The Council of the Russian Federation
  • 2011 - Russia, Moscow - International Festival of Art "Traditions and
  • Contemporaneity"
  • 2010 - Russia, Moscow - 15th Art Manege Moscow Art Fair 2010
  • 2010 - Germany, Bremen- Hanse Art, "Hin zum Original" Art Fair
  • 2008 - Spain, Barcelona - Masters Art J.S. Bach Gallery, Barcelona
  • 2008 - Russia, Moscow - The Museum of History of Moscow
  • 2008 - Japan, Tokyo - Mira Haya Gallery
  • 2007 - Bulgaria, Sofia - Russian Embassy
  • 2007 - Italy, Verona - Ingresso mostra
  • 2007 - Bulgaria, Varna
  • 2006 - Bulgaria, Plovdiv - International Fair 'Impression'
  • 2006 - Germany, Berlin - Bulgarian Cultural Institute
  • 2005 - Japan, Tokyo - Session House Gallery
  • 2005 - Switzerland, Zurich - Kronen Galerie
  • 2004 - Turkey, Izmir - International Fair
  • 2004 - Bulgaria, Plovdiv - International Fair 'Impression'
  • 2004 - Bulgaria, Varna
  • 2004 - USA, Chicago
  • 2004 - USA, Washington D.C.
  • 2004 - USA, New York - The Riverdale Garden Art Gallery
  • 2004 - Poland, Warsaw
  • 2003 - USA, Washington D.C. - The Riverdale Garden Art Gallery
  • 2003 - Bulgaria, Sofia - Library Science College
  • 2003 - Austria, Vienna - Haus Wittgenstein
  • 2003 - Hungary, Budapest
  • 2002 - Bulgaria, Sofia - Hotel Bulgaria
  • 2001 - Bulgaria, Sofia - Vitosha Gallery
  • 2001 - Bulgaria, Kozloduy
  • 2001 - Bulgaria, Sofia - 'Atellier 96'
  • 2001 - Bulgaria, Plovdiv - Impression
  • 2000 - Greece, Thessaloniki
  • 2000 - Bulgaria, Sofia - National Palace of Culture
  • 1999 - Bulgaria, Sofia - National Palace of Culture
  • 1998 - UAE, Dubai - World Innovation Congress
  • 1998 - Philippines, Manila - World Innovation Congress
  • 1998 - Bulgaria, Sofia - National Gallery for Foreign Art
  • 1998 - Bulgaria, Sofia - Earth and People Museum
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