Monument to Ivan Arabadzhiata
Tsaratsovo village, in front of the Village Hall
“Is there an event that took place in Thrace since 1862 for our liberation, in which he did not take part. Bai Ivan is the only peasant in all of Bulgaria and Thrace, who worked most actively and diligently, who is a pillar of the Bulgarian movements. The village of Tsaratsovo is the capital of the Bulgarian revolutionary apostles, Bai Ivan Arabadzhiata is their father or adviser, and his modest house is their refuge!”from “Notes on the Bulgarian Uprisings” by Zahari Stoyanov, Chapter VI, The Agitation in the IV District.
I remember that when they commissioned the creation of the monument, my father spent a long time specifying the exact pose of the figure and made 5-6 preliminary model versions, with different positions of the arms and legs. The final result contains a lot of thought and artistic concept tied to the character’s personality.
The monument to Ivan Arabadzhiata has several conceptual layers. The seeming static of the seated sculptural figure initially creates a sense of ordinariness and narrative. Just as we know the hero from Zahari Stoyanov’s iconic book. And as his personality grows and develops in the book, so here we get an evolving dynamic and high expressiveness in the face and the figure.
The condition and the message of this monument are unique. Vratsa limestone was chosen for the construction, and nearly 35 years later, when I visited the monument for photos, I was yet again amazed by the magnificent qualities of this material. Weathering has given new life to the material and the sculptural composition only benefits from this. The invisible hand of time has added its own condition by enhancing the sculpture with light shadows. The resulting natural patina is exactly where it needs to be. The figure is as if alive. A colossus of stone that will stand up and wave a hand at any moment.
It is no accident that this slight twist around the waist creates a unique dynamic. The illusion is acquired that the figure is in motion, that the character has only been seated for a brief moment and a change is about to take place. The face radiates both nobility and calmness. The gaze is immersed in space and adds to the whole image permanence and strength, but in a modest way, not subject to any shocks of time and circumstances. A personification of the ideal Bulgarian revolutionary image.
With the monument to Ivan Arabadzhiata, Viktor Todorov gives us yet another proof of his talent – the comprehensiveness of the image in depth, but with a clear and specific message. See all zoomable photos of the monument here: