“The Rape and Massacre in Ermita”
By Diosdado Lorenzo
Maria Louise M. Rimando
ABMA – 111
One of Diosdado Lorenzo’s largest artworks, having the size of 200cm x 173cm, is The Rape and Massacre in Ermita, which was done in oil on canvas. It was painted in 1947, at a time when our country was still befuddling from the brutish control of the Japanese Imperial Government during World War II. The painting portrays a horrifying incident that is happening to a family. In the foreground, a young girl is lying on the floor, lifeless, after being stabbed and shot. While a woman with long hair in the background is naked and hurt. The central peak of the painting is a matron, struggling with a Japanese soldier. She is grasping a knife, trying to defend herself, with her breasts exposed. Behind the rapacious soldier is a mauled man who appears to be the patriarch of the family. He has helplessly fallen to the floor, pitilessly bayoneted by another soldier. A baby in a crib on the left side is crying and defenseless. In the upper left part, an altar with dangling rosaries is situated on one side, mute and helpless. Outside the open window appears what seems to be a crown of a banana tree, hiding the fire and consternation happening outside. The painting moves the eye of the viewer from one point to the other. The story starts with the foreground showing a “past” incident where the character is already dead. Next point of the eye is the “current” wherein the struggle is occurring between the matron and a Japanese soldier. Then the “future” state of the mind is tickled in the third point of the painting wherein the viewer would think if the subject would meet his demise or not. The main characters or the human subjects in the painting are emphasized by using thick brush strokes and earth colors that gives more life to the painting. The main colors used are yellow, vermillion, and fiery orange for the background and skin tones of the subjects....
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