Monday, January 25, 2010

A Portrait of the Philippines - Fernando Amorsolo's Paintings



If I had to choose a favorite painter, it would without a doubt have to be Fernando Amorsolo. The reason, of course, lies in the nature of his paintings--specifically, how he paints and also what he paints.

Although I certainly appreciate the contemporary Filipino lifestyle and the modern Pinoy culture, it is the old provincial and traditional Philippines that my heart is most fond of. And it is this vision of the Philippines that Fernando Amorsolo portrays in his works. In fact, he is so brilliant at his craft that whenever I look at his paintings, he makes me feel so nostalgic that my heart weeps from such an overwhelming longing to return to those beautiful days.

Indeed, Amorsolo knows the original spirit of the Philippines, as is exhibited by the scenes he depicts. A summary of his art would be idyllic and idealistic settings of pastoral Philippines. Yet, what sets him apart and makes him unique from other pastoral artists is his amazing use of light.

Amorsolo is a master of color and natural light. The bright sun-drenched countryside that pervades most of his paintings is one of the main reasons that makes his artwork so appealing. Just from looking at his paintings, one can almost feel the heat from the glorious sunshine. And his masterful usage of light allows one to sense the time of day and hence, also experience the mood.

Through his paintings, one witnesses the simplistic beauty and pure innocence that makes the traditional and provincial Philippines so magnificent. Yet, Amorsolo is also able to convey the same perception for the culture, people, and especially women of the Philippines. Though nothing can justly substitute a comprehensive gallery look at his whole art collection, I think he just may have captured all essences of these aspects in his single untitled painting (shown above right) now known as Palay Maiden (1920), which portrays a provincial Filipina beauty or dalagang bukid during a rice harvest and dressed in and enveloped by the colors of the Philippine flag (the yellow can be interpreted to be represented by the sunlight or the rice stalks).

Perhaps some might say that this vision of the Philippines is long gone and can never be brought back. But I don't think so. Because it lives in the minds and hearts of individuals like myself--which is why, even though Amorsolo has long passed away, I still speak of him, as well as the olden days of the Philippines, like they still exist to this very day.

9 comments:

Gene said...

My sentiments exactly like yours whenever I see F. Amorsolo's paintings of rustic Philippines.... Your heart weeps, mine bleeds; because I know those beautiful days are long gone.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. I hope one day you will gain the necessary resources and influence to help our ailing country regain some of its former glory. You are a rare one, David. Bless you more.

Anonymous said...

such a nice post...

Anonymous said...

what are the names of the paintings,i need em' for assignments thanks

Anonymous said...

Amorsolo is well known for his use of "Philippine back light" in his paintings. I agree with what you said that his paintings were showing "idealistic" provincial settings for those were tumultuous times in the country side due to the discontent among farm tenants and also the raging Huk rebellion during those days.

But Fernando Amorsolo also paints on other interesting subjects. If you'll get a chance to view the World War themed paintings ( at the National Museum of the Philippines) and the very rare painting entitled "Night Fishing" at the UP Vargas Museum those would be of interest to a fan of Amorsolo paintings like you David.

Anonymous said...

this post helps me a lot thanks.. it gives me a lot of idea how amorsolo is great but i notice amorsolo's painting have a lot of beautiful Pilipinas ;D

Heartofmine Padilla Luvmoko said...

A painter like Him is knows the original spirit of the nature.....and those beautiful days are long gone..truely appreciated....

Marina Reyes said...

Wow! What a legacy Amorsolo has left for every Filipino.

reignchyng said...

his works captured the Philippines, the virgin Philippines :)

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