“The red accents are dotting the foreground as flowers, and Hulings fan-club members will also spot the signature piece of small red laundry hanging on the line toward the upper right.”
In our first official week of summer, we thought it might be nice to spend a little time admiring this refreshing green view in Tuscany, Italy. With 20 x 48″ dimensions, Hulings is reveling in the panoramic expanse of the rectangle, with the feeling of fields that go on and on in all directions.
As well as being gorgeous—and full of vineyards and olive groves—the province of Tuscany is unavoidable for artists influenced by the 14th-17th century Renaissance. Its capital, Florence (or Firenze, in Italian) was the epicenter of the art world; serving as home at some point for all the well-known heavyweights (and Ninja Turtles, if you have any little boys running around in your life): Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and the one the turtles forgot, Botticelli.
Head for the Hills
Tuscan Hill Village is from 1987, most likely from source material gathered on a trip to Northern Italy in the winter of 1986, but it’s pretty timeless. Hulings often went to the trouble of including contemporary elements in his paintings, because although much of his work is beautiful, it’s not sentimental. His respect for the actual conditions of people’s lives means that he avoided making real life look like a fairytale. So when we see a completely pastoral piece like this, where there’s no Coca-Cola sign or a plastic flower container, it’s a little out of the ordinary for him, and interesting because of that.
The composition is gorgeous, with a tree in the upper left, an inviting trail made by wheel tracks curving up the hill past a small shack, to a circular arch that joins the buildings at the top. The donkeys are on a break in this painting, and so it’s a horse that pulls a man on a cart full of grass, also on their way back to the buildings above. The red accents are sparingly-used but very effective: they are dotting the foreground as flowers, and Hulings fan-club members will also spot the signature piece of small red laundry hanging on the line toward the upper right. The teal accents in the foreground are flowers, and you’ll see a satisfyingly rough texture there, where he has scratched through the grasses. It’s especially compelling that the foreground is in shadow, as it suggests that the viewer is under a tree or at the foot of another hill.