New release by H. Hargrove
Its name has been changed many times over the centuries, depending upon which invading force occupied it: Eryx, Gebel Hamad, Monte San Giuliano. But today it is known as Erice, an ancient cobblestone-paved city that towers 2300 feet above Trapani, near the western shore of Sicily, between the modern cities of Palermo and Marsala. The latter city, as his collectors will remember, is the childhood home of artist H. Hargrove, born Nicolo Sturiano in 1941. Every year, Hargrove and Debbie make a pilgrimage to his homeland to reunite with family and friends, and each visit draws them, magnet-like, back to Erice. “It compels us,” says the artist, who has already made Erice (AIR-i-chay) the subject of one of his Italian-themed masterpieces. “The streets are narrow, and you have to climb a mountain of steps to reach the top of the town. Believe me, it’s worth the trek: the views of Trapani below and the Mediterranean Sea beyond simply take our breath away. And by the way, the steep climb has nothing to do with that,” he adds, referring to his now-tobacco-free lifestyle. “Erice is so high that sometimes it has its own cloud crowning it. There are sixty—yes, sixty—churches, filled with medieval art and sculpture, and we still haven’t explored all of them. There’s a castle built by Arab conquerors, another built upon the ruins of the ancient Romans’ Temple of Venus.” On and on, he and Debbie gush about their love of the town, and with apparent good reason. “We love exploring the village shops and restaurants,” says Debbie, “but one thing that we always return to is something you might not expect, simply because at first it might seem so mundane. It’s the courtyard doors, their centuries-old wooden planks faded by the strong Sicilian sun. And also,” she adds, “what’s behind them. See, many of those doors are left fully open, welcoming visitors to views of some magnificent courtyards beyond.” It seemed inevitable that Hargrove would once again be drawn to Erice as a source of inspiration for yet another of his Italian-themed paintings. In “The Courtyard of Erice,” we see the essence of these landmark treasures—their lush potted foliage, stone walkways, and antique iron stair rails, all set against the spectacle of sun-bleached stucco walls. Whether in combination with his first Erice painting or as a stand-alone work of art, “The Courtyard of Erice” is a painting Hargrove collectors are sure to treasure.