Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Complicated Lives

Turistas without Umbrellas is a 24x18 oil by Shirley Fachilla.

Every once in awhile, I try my hand at a scene with multiple figures. Such paintings are complicated challenges in part because they must usually be pieced together from photos, sketches and memory.
Of course, in the days of patrons and grand altar pieces, multiple figures were almost the norm. Michangelo’s The Last Judgement, Titian's Assumption of Mary and Rubens’ Descend from the Cross,  to name only three, are all filled with multiple bodies. What painters they were! They created marvelous compositions filled with passion, emotion and movement.  
But I think for all the drama and virtuosity of those works, the modern eye prefers something else entirely. We will look at Zurbaran’s solitary monks to fathom their mysteries and study Rembrandt’s self portraits for glimpses into the complexity of a single soul; but Rubens’ many-figured canvases, we pass them by with scarcely a pause.  
In the twenty-first century, we seem to limit our interest in the intricate to still life and landscape. For people, we prefer one complicated life at a time.
For another look at multiple figures, visit my post, People Who Need People


  1. Que je me perde dans la ruelle de cette dernière merveille ou celle de vos mots, la promenade est charmante et je savoure chaque instant.
    J'aime la sérénité de cette peinture qui reflète l'animation raisonnée qui fait que nous aimons errer ainsi en toute liberté. Nous nous nourrissons des couleurs, des sons... qui nous réconfortent...
    Très joli travail.
    Gros bisous

  2. Beautiful scene, Shirley ...I love the business in this painting and wonderful colors and the way you captured the wet pavement! a winner!

  3. Very interesting thoughts here, Shirley. I was in Florence, Italy, last week and it rained almost the whole time... and I saw many scenes very much like your painting. How fun to visit your blog and see this piece!

  4. This is sooo neat! I love the luggage - great touch.
    Zurbaran is one of my favs. The way he painted cloth and folds make my heart stop. I also adore his still life paintings. They go into another realm of excellence.

  5. You don't seem to have had issues with this, it is really lovely!

  6. I love how abstract this comment is a bit dated, but I have kept this painting in my email so I could look at it a few times....I really love this and it holds my attention

  7. awesome! It's true haven't seen you put much painting up here in a while, but really

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  8. Ciao,
    molto bello! Mi piace il contrasto tra l'atmosfera moderna della città e il movimento delle persone indaffarate nella quotidianità della loro vita. Bello!!
    Ciao, ciao, Floriana


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...