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.