Friday, January 6, 2017
The Paintings of Fernando Amorsolo
The other day, I posted ten of my favorite coffee table books in my collection. One of the books is the Paintings of Amorsolo by Alfredo R. Roces and published by the Filipinas Foundation, Inc. I was curious on the accomplishments of Amorsolo. Here's what I found in Wikipedia.
Fernando Cueto Amorsolo was born on May 30, 1892 and died on April 24, 1972. He was one of the most important artists in the history of painting in the Philippines. Amorsolo was a portraitist and painter of rural Philippine landscapes. He is popularly known for his craftsmanship and mastery in the use of light.
Amorsolo is best known for his illuminated landscapes, which often portrayed traditional Filipino customs, culture, fiestas and occupations. His pastoral works presented "an imagined sense of nationhood in counterpoint to American colonial rule" and were important to the formation of Filipino national identity. He was educated in the classical tradition and aimed "to achieve his Philippine version of the Greek ideal for the human form." In his paintings of Filipina women, Amorsolo rejected Western ideals of beauty in favor of Filipino ideals and was fond of basing the faces of his subjects on members of his family.
Amorsolo used natural light in his paintings and developed the backlighting technique Chiaroscuro, which became his artistic trademark and his greatest contribution to Philippine painting. In a typical Amorsolo painting, figures are outlined against a characteristic glow, and intense light on one part of the canvas highlights nearby details. Philippine sunlight was a constant feature of Amorsolo's work; he is believed to have painted only one rainy-day scene.
Amorsolo was an incessant sketch artist, often drawing sketches at his home, at Luneta Park, and in the countryside. He drew the people he saw around him, from farmers to city-dwellers coping with the Japanese occupation. Amorsolo's impressionistic tendencies, which may be seen in his paintings as well, were at their height in his sketches. His figures were not completely finished but were mere "suggestions" of the image.
Amorsolo also painted a series of historical paintings on pre-Colonial and Spanish Colonization events. Amorsolo's Making of the Philippine Flag, in particular, was widely reproduced. His The First Baptism in the Philippines required numerous detailed sketches and colored studies of its elements. These diverse elements were meticulously and carefully set by the artist before being transferred to the final canvas. For his pre-colonial and 16th-century depiction of the Philippines, Amorsolo referred to the written accounts of Antonio Pigafetta, other available reading materials, and visual sources He consulted with the Philippine scholars of the time, H. Pardo de Tavera and Epifanio de los Santos.
I hope you enjoy the above paintings as much as I do! Here's a video of some of his well known paintings for your enjoyment.