Marketplace during the Occupation

At first glance, this painting seemingly portrays an idyllic marketplace scene in the Philippines. Bathed in golden sunlight, vendors sell fruits and vegetables to the public. Fernando Amorsolo often evoked the picturesque in his representations of Filipino peasant lives. The rifle-carrying Japanese soldier watching in the background, however, reveals a tension in this particular setting. The Japanese flags have been scratched, either by the artist or another person presumably unhappy with the occupation. The work, made the same year that Japanese troops entered Manila, reflects the unease in the Philippines during World War II when the country was occupied by the Japanese. Fernando C. Amorsolo was born in Paco, Manila in 1892. He enrolled at the University of Philippines School of Fine Arts in 1914, training under European classical tradition. In 1919, he traveled to Spain to study at Escuela Superior de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado de San Fernando in Madrid where he copied paintings of Goya and Velazquez. His treatment of the canvas and choice of subject matter however is more akin to the Barbazon school painters led by Francois Millet - seen in how Amorsolo privileges  the rural Filipino landscape and people.

Share this



Map    National Gallery Singapore