Under the Mango Tree
signed and dated 1962 (lower left)
oil on canvas
24" x 34" (61 cm x 86 cm)
Provenance: Private Collection, USA
By the 1920s, Amorsolo had mastered the Filipino genre painting with its idyllic renditions of country life against the backdrop of the lushness of the landscape. He also made many outdoor studies of the Filipino countryside in an ardent endeavor to capture the light and color of what he observed. Amorsolo was not a social commentator but an aesthete who hoped to emphasize the finer qualities of his country and the people, from the beauty of the natural environment to the natural grace of the common people and the dignity of their life and labor.
In his Golden Period, Amorsolo had perfect control over his prodigious technical means as draftsman and colorist; he knew exactly the most attractive ways of portraying an ideal world and please just about every kind of intelligence. The painting touchingly evokes the enchanted mood that Amorsolo saw in the prewar countryside. It suggests a rural arcadia, emphasizing not the toil of the harvest but the carefree atmosphere of a picnic in the country, where men and women, graceful and charming, rest under the tree.
This quietly beautiful scene, featuring several countrymen and women, is a remarkable example of the way in which Amorsolo succeeds in adding a magical yet realistic dimension to the most ordinary of everyday things. The whole scene is one of lightness and space, made possible by Amorsolo’s choice of site.
The image is of a woman cooking a meal over a fire whose orange glow intensifies the already brimming brilliance of the fields. The heart of the Amorsolo style, his dazzling colorism, has been the subject of much discussion—that special vibrancy with which he recreated tropic sunlight in his genres and landscapes derived from techniques he studied in the works of European masters.