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Modern Italian boys and men wear wigs and historical costumes. They are dressed up for the Historical Procession that precedes the Palio, the famous horse race that since 1287 takes place in Siena/Italy  twice a year. Siena is divided in 17 quarters (‘contrade’) that have odd names like Snale, Giraffe, Dragon, etc. They each have their own colourful flags and costumes made of the most beautiful fabrics. In the 15 years that during short or longer periods I lived and worked near Siena this event has always fascinated me and little by little the intention was formed to paint a series of portraits of these men in their magnificent costumes. Throughout the years I have studied them, made sketches and photos, chatted with them. Fourteen paintings are finished now, for the time being four more are on the easel. It is my tribute to my beloved Siena.

For more information about the Palio of Siena check www.ilpalio.org.

August 2019

Yvonne Melchers

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