Sunday, June 17, 2012

Emigrantes by Domingos Rebelo

Emigrantes was one of my father's favorite paintings if not his favorite. Domingos Rebelo--the most famous Azorean painter--actually created two variations of this work. One is in Terceira and the other is being stored in Sao Miguel until a museum renovation is completed. The main differences between the two are the coloring. One is much more vibrant than the other and I believe the images below are of the two different variants so you can compare for yourself.

This painting is surprisingly complex and is supposed to convey the experience of Portuguese emigrants heading off for new lives away from their homeland. What I find brilliant about it is every single person in the painting is a unique character that tells a story from a specific perspective and every object in the work has meaning. This painting has been up on the wall of my mom's house for eternity and there are elements I never noticed until reading my father's thesis on Domingos Rebelo. For example, there is an American woman on the right perhaps reflecting on what her life would be like if she had never left. Also, there is framed religious shrine in the center which was the most important thing to an emigrant outside of their family and the clothes on their back.

I'm hoping to see the original in Terceira on one of my future trips to the Azores. I think I will appreciate it much more than when I was younger.

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