1ST FLOOR PARLOUR
In the reception parlour on the first floor, the masterpiece by the Czech artist, Ivan Mrkvichka, “Market in Plovdiv,” (1888) can be viewed. It introduces the visitor to the atmosphere and spirit of the time presented in the museum spaces. The painting is included in an album of works by native artists, presented by Prince Ferdinand at the coronation of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II. The frame is made with lavish decoration and 23-carat gold plating. Ivan Mrkvichka is of Czech origin, but his later life was spent in Bulgaria, creating some of the most beautiful paintings describing our everyday life. His painting, “Market in Plovdiv,” shows the most characteristic elements of Plovdiv at that time – ten years after the Bulgarian Liberation. Plovdiv, being one of the most modern and rapidly developing cities, still represented the Ottoman influence in architecture and which remains part of its appearance to this day. The distinguishing marks in the clothing of the characters are masterfully drawn, and the costumes from the Plovdiv region are also clearly recognizable. Mrkvichka has symbolically emphasized our new freedom through the figure of the stooping Turkish representative. He examines the goods, but comes to show that he is already defeated – he has no power over the Bulgarian, represented in the face of the young and strong man, standing with a proud posture, as if menacingly bent over his former enslaver. The image of the priest is also a symbol, of the Christian faith, which is now freely professed. On his left side, an elegant lady in a black dress is apparently in contrast with her appearance as a representative of the new European fashion. After the Liberation, the ala-franga style quickly changed the appearance of the big cities through clothing, manners, and even architecture. According to experts, the author immortalized in the painting the image of his friend Ivan Slaveikov as a gentleman in a light suit in the crowd. Going up the stairs to the second-floor visitors can view the model of the Regional Ethnographic Museum – Plovdiv which presents the Kuyumdzhioglu house in its architectural splendour – colour, bay windows, façade with gracefully winding eaves, and incredible roof. Ceramic panels, sculptures and plastic artworks by Bulgarian artists are presented in the courtyard of the museum.