During the fateful years that saw the birth of the nation, Hidalgo was painting seascapes in Paris. If he had dipped his toe into the river of Philippine history, he appeared to have retreated from the cold and so ended up a footnote in our textbooks.
The budding propaganda Movement of the Generation of ’72 has found a dramatic focus to champion the Filipino’s cultural image. Demolishing the malicious myth vehemently spread by those who scheme to keep the Filipinos forever inferior — that Filipinos are genetically and racially incapable of higher cultural achievements — the triumphs of Hidalgo demonstrate that Filipinos are able to excel in the very cultural arena of Europe itself. In the context of European civilization the Filipino has come of age. The politically harmless profession of painting now acquires filibustero tones as it is triumphantly brandished as a propaganda weapon.
Resurreccion Hidalgo’s The Country Women is a famous work featured in Alfredo Roces’ work on this master.
In it is a pair of women, perhaps a mother and her daughter. They are possibly gypsies, with their possessions wrapped in a brown cloth between them. They are dressed in the colors of the earth, of copper-golds and terra cottas. They seem to be contemplating the freedom of the road ahead of them, beneath a dusky sky.
A master of the mysterious and the lyrical, Resurrección Hidalgo paints a different portrait of the traveling gypsy woman. She is neither petulant nor pensive; here two women are almost mystical mother-earth figures that meld with the serene background.