Vanya Sapundzhieva | Art of Icons

Vanya Sapundzhieva


Bringing Christian art to life according to my intuition is one of the most important things in my professional career. Holy images, their history, and their interpretation in Orthodox Christian art have left a profound impression on me. I cannot help wondering how this kind of art has proved inexhaustible after so many people have worked in the course of so many centuries. The beauty of holy images, their powerful radiance, and the great differences between secular and sacred arts inspire me to search for new means of expression in order to recreate these images in my works. It is my belief that Christian art is not frozen in the past and is a vehicle of that freedom which is indispensable for every creator of art.



Dr Vanya Sapundzhieva, PhD

Born 1974 in Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria.

Graduated from the National Aprilov Highschool in Gabrovo (1993), BA and MA in Iconography (1998), at the University of Veliko Tarnovo “St. St. Cyril and Methodius ” and PhD, (in Iconography) at the same university (2006). She is currently conducting a postdoctoral program project at National Science Fund (NSF) in cooperation with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2010-2013).

Dr. Sapundzhieva is Senior Asst. Prof. of icon-painting at the Department of Church Arts, Orthodox Theological Faculty, University of Veliko Tarnovo “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”. She is a founding member of the “EIKONA” – Group of academics working in the field of ecclesiastical arts from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Russia, an organization initiated by Prof. George Kordis.

Since 1997 she participated in iconographic exhibitions held in Bulgaria, Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, France, Luxembourg, Greece. Some of her most important projects in the area of Christian art are the frescoes of the church “St. Nicholas”, Weiler-la-Tour, Luxembourg (2011), the frescoes of the church “St. Paisios of Hilandar “, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, the royal icons for the church “St. Michael the Archangel”, of Kolena, Bulgaria, icons for the iconostasis of the church “St. Haralambos”, of Dolna Mahala, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, iconostasis panels for the church “St. Patriarch Evtimij”, Paris, France  and many single frescoes for churches in Bulgaria. Icons drawn by Vanya Sapundzhieva are found also in many private collections of Europe and the USA.

Dr. Sapundzhieva took part in two international icon-painting workshops  in Brancoveanu Monastery and in Bistrica monastery, Romania (1998, 2000); in the First, Third and Fourth Symposium on iconographic art organized by EIKONA Group held respectively in Thessaloniki, Greece (2009) , St. Petersburg, Russia ( 2010) and Monastery of New Valaam (2011), Finland; in third Bienniale “From Assumption to the present day” in Orthodox Theological Institute “St. Sergius Radonezhski” in Paris, France (2009) and in the First and Second Biennale of Church Arts in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria (2009 and 2011).

Dr. Sapundzhieva has numerous publications on Post-Byzantine art and in the field of Christian iconology.