Wood engraving (so-called high engraving) implies a sense of the mirror side of the image when it is flipped (from the wooden to the paper surface), application skills, knowledge of the relief, the structure and in general of the timber, craft skills, attitude to the clarity in the interpretation of the forms, the increased attention to the detail and to its place in the whole, preliminary work on sketches, on the design of the artistic projection. According to the art historians, the first Bulgarian engravings appeared in the XIX century, and it was not until the 20 years of the last century that a new stage in the development of wood engraving in Bulgaria began. The beginning of the new "post-liberation" stage is set by Vasil Zahariev.
Born in Samokov, he became acquainted with the local school of icon painting and engraving, studying the achievements of generations of engravers, the tradition created by his predecessors, collecting Samokov Renaissance prints, zoographic artifacts. In 1920, at his first solo exhibition, he presented works that showcase the variety of artistic ways he handles, with which he can use his skill. But as Vl. Svintila, Zahariev will not develop as a universal artist who does everything, because over time "decoration, landscape, ornament will be subordinated" to the engraving and "will take their definite (and limited) place in his work".
In 1922, just before he started teaching at the Art Academy, V. Zahariev was sent to study at the Leipzig State Academy of Graphic Arts and Books. While specializing, he studies various lithographic techniques, examines the specifics of reproduction of the species. Part of his work is in the offices of museums and galleries, where he has access to the works of Schongauer, Durer, Mantenia, Rembrandt, Kahlo and many others. and others In Germany, the artist retains engravings made by his teacher to continue collecting paintings of his students and other objects of art. In other words, Vasil Zahariev systematically studies not only Bulgarian but also world art. And this also has an imprint on his canvases - watercolor works with Samokov landscapes, as well as the sketch "Albrecht Durer's House in Nuremberg" - for an engraving of wood of the same name.
His interests as an artist and collector are reflected in articles and books devoted to the history of art: for Samokov icon painters, for icon painters, for murals, for Bulgarian Revival schools, for aesthetics of book design, for exhibitions in Russian, Czech, Slovak, Italian artists, for the etchings of L. Laurentsi, for Nikola Ivanov Sample, Dimitar Gerov-Antikar and others. According to Vl. Screws through 1924 - 1925 in V. Zahariev's works became more and more clear the categorical release of "graphic vision", the refusal "of color and color effects". And in the Dead Dance chart - but also in November and Ohrid Memories - (created in the period mentioned above), the king's "moody mood" reveals an undisguised attraction to "secession", the passage of the master "To a monumental national art" through the "Literary Salon".
The researcher believes that the bias is also due to the decade in which works of art emerge. But it should not be forgotten, underestimated the fact that V. Zahariev publishes articles in literary editions such as Zlatorog magazine, Literary Voice newspaper, etc., his color print "Golgotha" is printed in "Libra" magazine. - ie not only is he scientifically concerned with book printing and book design (as is evident in the partial and schematic reproduction of his biography), but he also has observations on contemporary literature.
Two years after the Dead Dance, Vasil Zahariev created the "St. Nikola "in Samokov", "The Old Shed in Samokov" and many others. and others In his engravings from this time the contrast is enhanced, elements of the unoccupied background stand out, creating a feeling as in Durer's works. But, unlike Dürer's works, Zacharius's frugality shows a modest frugality of funds, symptomatic avoidance of excess, but also a new form of the symbolic layer of the image.
In the engravings of V. Zahariev after 1925, e.g. in the Baldwin Tower in Turnovo by 1928 - the movement between black and white, between the sharpness and softness of the lines, between the functional unfilled space and the outlines, between the naturalistic and the symbolic signals the successful locking of emotions in the strokes, the desire to be alone in influencing themselves, but also meaningful ones, to "compact" the depicted object. Until the 30 years of the last century the artist participated in numerous exhibitions in Sofia, but also in Vienna, Leipzig, Prague, Zagreb, Fiume and others.
Creator, collector, researcher, teacher, Vasil Zahariev creates a kind of concise, personal, atypical history of Bulgarian artistic and artistic searches for a whole decade, but also marks the connection between the new directions in the visual arts (especially in engraving) and revival experiments. There is much to learn from the Vassil-Zacharias Covenant. But he is amazed not only by its categoricality, its magnitude, but also by its attested devotion, its unwavering consistency - they are penetrated by the distances between the canvas, between the varied texts that flowed from the life of their author. Life for and in the arts.