The AUBG Panitza Library hosts “The Image of Don Quixote Through the Ages: Publications from the Collection of the National Library” exhibition, a collaborative effort between the Embassy of Spain in Bulgaria and the St. Cyril and Methodius National Library. This showcase aimed to present the enduring allure of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s masterpiece, “Don Quixote de la Mancha,” by highlighting the interpretations of various artists featured in the novel’s earliest editions.
H.E. Alejandro Polanco, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to Bulgaria, personally inaugurated the exhibition with a story on the impact of the book in the international diplomatic sphere.
Special guests of the opening ceremony were also Jaione Cereijo, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Spain and Responsible for Cultural Affairs, Vesela Petrova, administrative staff from the Embassy of Spain, and Mr. Ruben Sáenz, Education Advisor /Education Office of the Embassy of Spain.
The heart of the exhibition lays in its presentation of 28 engravings and illustrations from three distinct early editions of “Don Quixote.” Each edition reflected the unique styles of the time and showcased the novel’s characters and adventures through the lens of different artists.
- English Edition (1755) illustrated by Francis Hayman (1708-1776). The edition, part of the English translation by Tobias Smollett, featured six engravings portraying Don Quixote in a satirical light, characteristic of the 18th century.
- Spanish Edition (1780) with sixteen engravings from the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language’s four-volume edition aimed at editing and improving previous versions of “Don Quixote.” The presentation depicted Don Quixote as a wise and dignified character, showcasing the quality of clean text and special wove paper.
- French Edition (1863) illustrated by Gustave Doré (1832-1883). Doré’s six engravings from the first illustrated French edition captured the madness and melancholy of Don Quixote against magical landscapes, aligning with the artistic trends of the 19th century.
In addition to the visual treasures, the exhibition featured nine panels providing in-depth information on the engravings and various editions of “Don Quixote.” These panels, curated with assistance from the St. Cyril and Methodius National Library, offered insights into the historical context and artistic nuances of the novel.