The best years of one’s life, as over-50s would tell you, years of maturity and wisdom coming with age.
I have known Emmanuel for a long time now. I met him first at a conference where he delivered a sensational at the time paper on Hristofor Žefarović. Soon after, he joined our Institute to fit immediately into the small group of art researchers on the Nation al Revival Period. We have travelled since then literally thousands of kilometres together doing fieldwork on projects initiated and led, more often than not, by him. I don’t want to go into detail about our collaborative fieldwork, but I’d rather point out his singing voice and his great sense of humour. To complete the portrayal of his artistic nature richly endowed with talent, I’d mention his talent as a painter.
Emmanuel Moutafov showed an affinity and abilities for interdisciplinary research as early as his thesis at the National Lyceum for Ancient Languages and Cultures published in a book in 1987, Pagan Elements in the Cult and Iconography of the Holy Prophet Elijah. Completing his studies at the University of Athens, Emmanuel was very knowledgeable about his doctoral thesis on handwritten hermeneiai in Greek. Bulgaria now has no better versed expert in the painter’s manuals, in their specifics and interplays and the painting terms. His book Europeanisation on paper. Writings on painting in Greek language of the first half of the eighteenth century (2001) became a rarity. The same is true of the book he was behind, Greek Icon-painters in Bulgaria after 1453 (2008), where he is both the author and the translator into Greek. These books are rarities not only because of their limited edition but also because they are in high demand, popular and cited both here and abroad. Emmanuel has a flair for extremely rare and interesting subjects in the field of iconography and epigraphy allowing him to make major contributions to science.
His organizational skills entirely changed the physiognomy of the Art Readings mounted by the Institute: they evolved into major annual academic events, drawing researchers from across the Balkans and West Europe and ultimately strengthening the Institute’s international standing. Owing to his drive, perseverance and proficiency, Emmanuel Moutafov succeeded in mounting and leading to a successful European funding two major international projects: BYZART and Corpora of Premodern Christian Orthodox Mural Painting, initiated by the Institute of Art Studies, BAS in collaboration with the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Romanian Academy and the Albanian Academy of Sciences..
A man of many talents, Emanuel proved to be a successful manager of the Institute of Art Studies. It takes special skills to be director of an institute within BAS in hard times and he showed he had the expertise to cope with the task.
May you enjoy good health, energy, great success and support by your colleagues!