Amateur artist from Bulgaria impresses Van Gogh Museum

A painting by a teacher from the town of Vidin, in northwestern Bulgaria, has been featured on the official Facebook page of the Van Gogh Museum (, which is located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. So far, Yuliana Chavdarova's work, Morning at Grafa (as the Graf Ignatiev Str. in downtown Sofia is often referred to), has over 15,000 likes and more than 200 comments. It has been shared over 1,500 times.

There is no shortage of people who have expressed desire to buy the painting either. The massive interest caught even the artist by surprise. Yuliana is a biology teacher in a secondary school in Vidin and a self-described amateur artist. “(This honour) was a surprise for me too and at the same time it encourages me as an amateur artist to keep painting. I studied painting as part of the curriculum at my high school in Sofia and that was it for a while. Once the children grew up, I had time for a hobby and so I went back to that long forgotten activity. I am a teacher by profession and painting comes second, so the recognition this work of mine has received is a great success for me since I have no proper training.”  

Yuliana Chavdarova is a member of a Facebook group called Van Gogh Inspires, where she has been posting her works for the past year and a half. It is there that representatives of the Van Gogh Museum took note of her work Morning at Grafa and asked for her permission to publish it. Yuliana created the piece back in the spring, at the outset of the pandemic.

“I was in Sofia this spring. I went for a walk with my husband and we really liked this green retro tram because it reminded us of the olden days. Naturally, he joked with me, 'Here is something worthy of a painting, why don't you paint this tram?' It was a real challenge because I had never painted a tram. It was a morning bathed in sunlight, not a soul in sight because of the pandemic. But the sun was there, spreading the hope we all needed. I like my paintings to be infused with colour, powerful presence and emotion, and colour is what guides me. Van Gogh's paintings have colour and powerful presence,” the artist says.

Yuliana also draws inspiration from the streets of Vidin and small-town life. She is planning an exhibition in Vidin to show her works and this latest success only gives her confidence to keep following her dream.

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