Haralampi Tachev (1875-1941)
Haralampi Konstantinov Tachev was born in 1875 in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. In 1902, he graduated in the first class of the State School of Drawing in Sofia, currently the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Professor Ivan Mrkvička. In 1903, Tachev was one of the founders and chairman of the association “Contemporary Art.” He was also among the creators of the Union of South Slavic artists “Lada” and the association “Southern Bulgarian Artists.” From 1910, Tachev was a professor at the National Academy of Arts, where he taught decorative arts, ornamentation, and styling. Professor Tachev was one of the first Bulgarian specialists in the field of artistic spatial design. He decorated the Bulgarian pavilions at the exhibitions in Liege (1905), Milan (1906), and London (1907). The facades and interiors of many public buildings in Bulgaria were made according to his designs. These include the Memorial Tomb of Alexander I of Battenberg (better known as the Battenberg Mausoleum) in Sofia, the Vrana Palace, the mosaics in the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, the seat of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (the Synodal Palace), the stained-glass windows of the National Library, the Museum House “Hristo Botev” in Kalofer, and the church “Sv. Marina” (St. Marina) in Plovdiv.
His name is associated with the creation of the Coat of arms of Sofia (1900) and the Coat of arms of Gabrovo (1935–1941). His contributions to the modern appearance of the Bulgarian capital is enormously significant. Tachev’s iconic works include: the ceramic ornamentation on the façade of the Sofia Central Mineral Baths (1910–1913), the ceramic ornamentation on the façade of the Faculty of Theology building with the National Church Historical and Archaeological Museum (Museo di Arte Sacra), the glazed ceramic tiles and mosaics in the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (the Synodal Palace; 1908–1909), the decoration and inscriptions on some of the interior spaces of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (1904–1912), the interior sculptural decoration of the Vrana Palace (1912), the interior decoration of the Memorial Tomb of Alexander I of Battenberg (the Battenberg Mausoleum in Sofia, 1934), the panel with the Coat of arms of Sofia at Sofia’s Central Market Halls (1909–1911), a decorative frieze above the facade of St. Nicholas Sofia Church (1909), stained glass windows in the Ministry of Finance, and stained glass windows in the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works in “Slaveykov” square.
In addition to monumental decoration, Haralampi Tachev also created designs for banknotes, government bonds and congratulatory addresses, flags, coins, medals, covers, illustrations, vignettes, posters, postage stamps, company signs, emblems, bookplates, menus, certificates, ceremonial addresses, throne speeches, invitations, calendars, and packaging.
The artist died in Sofia in 1941.