The Liberation from Ottoman rule was a turning point in the development of fine arts in Bulgarian lands. In the wake of that, the arts left the interior spaces of the churches and set off on a secular road of their own. In the newly established state, which reappeared on the European maps, the first secular exhibitions were arranged, while one of the first government acts in this cultural field was the general art exhibition organized within the First Bulgarian Industrial-Agricultural Show in Plovdiv, featuring works by Antony Pyotrovsky, Emil Holarec, Ivan (Jan) Mrkvička, Petko Klisurov, Antoine Barbiet, Ivan Dimitrov, Nikola Popov, Nikolay Pavlovich, Anton Mitov, Ivan Angelov, Dimitar Bagrilov, Constantin Velichkov and Rayna Kerimetchieva.
Although the exhibition did not receive any notable press coverage and the audiences did not quite understand what it was all about, the exhibition triggered off a number of positive processes. Tzar Ferdinand bought out some pictures from the exhibition and donated these to the State of Bulgaria, thus putting in place the foundations of the Art Department at the Peopleʼs Museum, which was founded, in turn, earlier that same year. It was this general art exhibition, first of its kind, which prompted the founding of the first professional association of artists, in 1893: the Society for the Support of Art in Bulgaria.