This painting is called “The Vucciria” and is by Renato Guttuso, is large (300 cm x 300 cm) painted in 1974 while he was living in Lombardy. I have read that he ordered food to be shipped by air to him from Palermo, including a side of beef in order to paint food from life!
His work is a visual representation of the feelings I had while exploring the local markets a maze of food, smells, sights, sounds and people, and an inspiration for my images.
The term Vucciria derives from the French word boucherie, or butcher shop, but in Sicily the meaning encompasses noise, confusion, chaos, reflecting the atmosphere that dwells along the streets of the market. Sicilians say “It was a vucciria” the way we in English say “It was bedlam” or “It was a madhouse”.
Lucky for Bill and I there are several street markets in Palermo, as old as the Vucciria, which are a frenzied mass of people buying fruits, vegetables and fish and meat, men on motorbikes piled high squeezing through the crowds delivering more merchandise to the stalls, and men shouting out to sell their wares. We returned to the markets many times to shop for local food and enjoy the vucciria!