This was a fantasy story set in a world of monsters and giants and adventurers and gods and seers and an evil overlord.
The protagonist is a painter (with an Italian sounding name- Benotolli?). He struck me as an Italian member of the three musketeers. The swordsman early in the book talks about his uncles beating his worst traits out of him: fair play and chivalry. He is painting a field / still life when he sees bandits accosting a woman. He goes over and ends up trickily stabbing one of the bandits in the back and kills the other two in methods most foul. He saves the girl. The two of them hook up with a giant who is part of the rebel forces fighting against the evil overlord. Bertolli sp? ends up joining the rebellion (for her), romances and ends up losing the girl because he doesn't believe.
The book ends with him finally finding the seer who has the answer to the question he was questing after. The seer shares the secret of life with him: "things change."
I apologize it has been over a decade since a read this book and forget much of the details. It was published in the 1990s I think. I would like to reread it, but can not find it via Google search or Amazon search.